House leader seeks probe on delayed national ID

Philippine identification card registrants may not have to wait much longer as they found an ally in House Deputy Minority Leader Bernadette Herrera who sought an immediate investigation into the alleged “inefficient, delayed and faulty” rollout of the national ID system.

Disappointed with government agencies involved in the Philippine Identification System, Herrera said Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, National Economic and Development Authority, and Philippine Statistics Authority, must be taken to task for their shortcomings in the implementation of Republic Act 11055 or the Philippine Identification System Act signed by then-President Rodrigo Duterte on 6 August 2018.

“It is thus imperative that a formal investigation on the proximate causes of these delays, substandard printing, and even the reported hacking be conducted immediately,” said Herrera, Bagong Henerasyon Partylist representative.

House Resolution 471, which she filed on 10 October, urges the appropriate House Committee to conduct an inquiry, in aid of legislation.

“An accountability mechanism must be established to allow a closer look into what went wrong, or what may still be improved, in the implementation of the national ID system,” she said.

The House Resolution also recommended the accountability of PSA officials.

“It is thus worth exploring if the current leadership of the PSA should be replaced due to these inefficiencies pointed out in the implementation of the National ID System,” Herrera’s House Resolution read.

Apart from the delay in meeting the quota for the number of ID cards for delivery, there have been complaints about the inaccuracy of personal information and blurry images on the cards, and that the IDs are no longer readable after about three months.

Herrera also cited reports of hacking that left citizens worried that their personal data or sensitive personal information may have been compromised.

RA 11055 established the PhilSys that will supposedly provide 92 million target Filipinos with a valid proof of identity — the PhilID card — to simplify public and private transactions, enrolment in schools, opening of bank accounts, and promote inclusive coverage and enable better access to the most vulnerable groups.

PSA, which is tasked to be the primary agency to carry out the provisions of the law, will maintain the national registry for the PhilID and issue the cards to all qualified registrants.

More than three years after its rollout in 2019, the delivery of PhilID cards, however, took forever for more than 74 percent of registrants or more than 68 million out of its 92-million target.

Registrants, after completing Step 2 (on-site collection of biometric information including photographs, fingerprint and iris scan) of the PhilID registration are told that their cards will be delivered 3-6 months after.

The BSP, which was engaged by the PSA to produce the PhilID cards, is mandated to deliver 116 million pre-personalized IDs from 2021 to 2023.

PSA reports showed that as of early July 2022, 14.3 million physical cards have been delivered. The target though is 36.4 million cards delivered by June 2022.

CoA findings
The Commission on Audit, however, noted that as of 31 December 2021, the BSP delivered only 27,356,750 pre-personalized cards or 76 percent of the 36 million required number of IDs for last year.

CoA said the BSP only managed to deliver 8,764,556 personalized cards before 2021, accounting for a measly 17.53 percent of the 50 million required number of IDs for calendar years 2020 and 2021.

The CoA report for 2020 and 2021 also cited its observations of Department of Finance non-financial issues that read, “the quantity of produced and delivered Philippine Identification cards did not meet the requirement provided in the terms of reference; thus, causing delay to the Philippine Identification System project of the government, intended to streamline the transactions in both the public and private sectors.”

Liquidated damages
The total actual deliveries of pre-personalized cards by the contractor, AllCard Inc., was 27,356,750 pieces, or 76 percent of the annual requirement of 36 million as of the end of December 2021, the report added.

“The delivery of 27.3 million ID cards as of December last year obviously falls below the 36 million annual delivery requirement,” Herrera said.

She said it must be determined if liquidated damages equal to one-tenth of one percent (0.1 percent) of the cost of the unperformed portion for every day of delay for the procurement of goods should be imposed on AllCard Inc.

A periodic review at its plans to expedite the production of the ID cards has already been recommended by CoA to the BSP.

Herrera also lamented reports that there are commercial banks no longer accepting the national ID as a valid government-issued ID owing to the issue of fading or discoloration, and that the ID does not bear the signature of the bearer.

Of the total P28.4 billion allotted for the PhilSys project, only P6.8 billion has been appropriated since 2018.

“It must likewise be determined if it would be beneficial to establish an independent Project Management Office and/or a third-party Monitoring and Evaluation Team to oversee and manage the implementation of the project,” she added.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *