RP to have one ID card next year

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — ALL Filipinos will be required to have a common ID card, the so-called unified multi-purpose identification system, by 2008, a government agency said yesterday.

The ID card is now being tested in three government agencies, and the National Economic and Development Authority said Filipinos would be able to transact business with government agencies and private firms with it.

“The full-blown implementation of the system is expected to start next year after the selection of a private sector partner following prescribed build-operate- transfer selection procedures,” Neda said in a statement.

It said Filipinos could use the card to secure a debit or credit card, a voter’s ID card, or an electronic pass to ride trains and buses.

Daniel Pabellon, Neda assistant director general, said all this would be possible through the use of radio frequency or the contact-less smart card technology—as well as various other applications for the ID card—once the technical working group on the ID system approved the integration of these new technologies.

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo established the unified multi-purpose ID system through an executive order in 2005, and it required all government agencies and government-owned and -controlled corporations to streamline and harmonize their ID systems.

The government insists that the ID system is different from the national ID system that the Ramos administration had proposed.

Mrs. Arroyo has called it the “People’s ID Card,” saying it will make it more convenient and faster for holders to transact business with the government and private businesses.

The ID system is now being tested at the Neda, the National Statistics Office and the Philippine Health Insurance Corp., and the test is expected to be completed in the third quarter this year.

Former Economic Planning Secretary Romulo Neri has said the implementation of the ID system is on track despite the absence of a national budget for it.

Earlier, the Supreme Court ruled that the system was within the President’s power and prerogative as chief executive as it merely sought to streamline and reduce the cost of maintaining the different ID systems in government.

But the court also ruled that it was not a national ID system, and therefore could not be covered by any separate national appropriation as it was only Congress that may do so once it established a national ID system.