Senate, House panels approve nat'l ID system bill

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 24) — The bicameral conference committee composed of Senate and House members approved on Tuesday night the bill establishing a national identification card (ID) system, said Senator Ping Lacson.

Lacson, author and sponsor of the Philippine Identification System (PhilSys) Act of 2018, told reporters the House of Representatives agreed to adopt the Senate version of the bill with only a few changes.

"They agreed to adopt the Senate version with minor amendments. May suggestion sila. Basta substantially Senate version 'yan," Lacson said.

Senate President Vicente "Tito" Sotto said the bicameral conference committee report establishing the national ID system will be ratified on Monday, May 28.

According to Lacson, the bill, once ratified by both houses of Congress, goes to Malacañang for the President to sign into law. He said Congress is eyeing the implementation of the system by the end of June.

"May initial funding na 'yan [It has initial funding], P25 billion," he said.

The Senate bill integrates the 33 various government-issued IDs into a single official identification system for all citizens. The House issued a similar version of the bill in 2017, which mandates Filipinos 18 years old and above to register with PhilSys. The registration, however, is not required with the Senate version.

"This is a landmark legislation. It's been languishing in both Houses for 18 years," Lacson said.

Lacson previously said having different forms of functional IDs results in "duplication of efforts, wastage of resources, and uncoordinated identity approaches."

Sotto, meanwhile, said he confident the national ID system would help avoid irregularities in the 2019 elections.

"I don't see any problem with it eh kasi candidates especially in the local election. A plus factor is to secure a copy of the voter's list and the copy of the voter's list is given by Comelec (Commission on Election)," Sotto said.

In a statement Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque welcomed the approval of the measure.

"This landmark bill is part of the legislative priority agenda of the Duterte administration to improve the delivery of government services; thus, once ratified, the President will sign this into law," Roque said.