MANILA - The government "cannot rush" the implementation of the National ID System this year as there are "privacy, security and COVID" risks that have to be ironed out, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Chua said Tuesday.
The government plans to finish the procurement of equipment by August, and begin the registration of household heads by the last quarter of 2020, Chua told senators in a hybrid hearing.
"Ang National ID po kasi hindi po natin puwede i-rush, baka magkamali kasi mayroon po tayong security, privacy at COVID risk," he said.
"Kung mag-mass registration po tayo, 'yung iris scan, 'yung fingerprint, 'yung ballpen, lahat po yan, yung papel ay puwede mag spread ng virus," he said.
While the country is still under different levels of quarantine, the government is trying to develop the registration software procured from India, the NEDA chief said.
"Ang maganda po dito we are not developing from scratch... Once we have that system developed, then we would be ready to begin registration by the end of the year," he said.
The Philippine Statistics Authority expects to have 5 million household heads registered by the end of this year, and have 90 million Filipinos under the system by the end of 2022.
"Ang bata hindi pa puwede mag-ID kasi hindi pa natin maca-capture yung iris at yung fingerprint kung batang-bata pa... pero bibigyan na po sila ng ID number upon birth," Chua said.
The National ID System Act was was enacted into law in 2018, giving the PSA an annual allocation of P2 billion for the program.
Senators earlier filed a resolution seeking an investigation on why the implementation of the program has been delayed for 2 years, as the system was expected to fast-track the delivery of cash aid to those hit by the coronavirus crisis.