MANILA – The Philippines’ COVID-19 task force is pushing to fast-track the implementation of the national ID system in hopes of providing immediate service to vulnerable groups during crises, an official said Friday.
The Philippine Identification System (PhilSys) will allow the government to automatically release assistance to the most vulnerable during national emergencies, Cabinet Secretary and Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-IED) co-chair Karlo Nograles said in a statement.
President Rodrigo Duterte signed in August 2018 the Philippine System Identification Act, which mandates the government to create a single official identification card for all citizens and foreign residents that would serve as a de facto national identification number.
Under the law, the national ID shall contain a person’s Philippine Identification System number, full name, gender, blood type, date of birth, place of birth, marital status, address, and a front facing photo.
Prior to the signing of the PhilSys Act, the Philippines had been one of the few countries in the world which had no national ID system.
Previous administrations attempted to establish a national ID system but these efforts were met with strong opposition amid fears data privacy would be violated.
In April, the Philippine Statistics Authority set registration for the national ID system to October, moving it from the original July schedule because of the coronavirus pandemic.
In his statement, Nograles also noted “booming” industries despite the COVID-19 pandemic, which has dampened the economy. These fields include the health and medical sectors, retail and online services.
“We all need to be persistent and creative. Know what and where to look for employment-wise in these challenging times. No one is immune from the fallout brought by COVID-19. Everyone in both the public and private sector is affected, and our government is doing its best to provide social and economic safety nets,” he said.
Nograles also advised fresh graduates to adapt with the demands of the “new normal.”
"May uncertainties lalo na sa ating mga kabataan, pero malaki at marami ring prospects. Expected na may ilang mababahala (There are uncertainties, but there are also prospects. We expect that some may get anxious). Let's remain optimistic and think there are many opportunities out there," he said.
Several businesses have recently announced layoffs, including an airline, a hotel chain and car dealerships.