Government set to implement national ID
Mary Grace Padin (The Philippine Star) - June 16, 2017 - 4:00pm

MANILA, Philippines - The government is bent on issuing a national identification card to all Filipinos to ensure the effective implementation of tax safety nets for the poorest families under the tax reform bill, the Department of Finance (DOF) said yesterday.

In a statement, Finance Undersecretary Karl Kendrick Chua said the DOF is proposing that the national ID contain biometrics data, along with information to determine if an individual can enjoy subsidies, discounts and tax exemptions under the law, as well as the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Act.

Included are discounts for medicine, commuting, health care, education and other applicable benefits under the law and as specified under the TRAIN Act.

The DOF is also considering the possibility of adding an EMV (Europay-Mastercard-Visa) chip in the card to load cash subsidies for persons legally entitled to such benefits, Chua said.

Once Congress enacts a law establishing a national ID system, the issuance of the IDs will be done in batches, with senior citizens and persons with disabilities being the first to receive theirs, he added.

They will be followed by members of the 5.2 million poorest households in the country not yet covered by the conditional cash transfer program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

Chua said the target is to provide 105 million Filipinos with the ID within two years of the enactment of the law mandating the implementation of the national identification system.

“The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) will issue the ID cards, with the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) providing oversight functions. The DSWD, meanwhile, will coordinate the various social benefit programs that will be put in place under TRAIN,” he added.

Chua also said the proposed national ID will replace all other identification cards issued by the government, except for passports and driver’s licenses.

As of June 2, the House of Representatives committee on population and family relations approved a bill seeking the implementation of a national ID system, which will provide every Filipino a common reference number and single ID card that can be used for all government transactions.

A counterpart bill filed in the Senate has so far been reported on first reading and referred to the Senate committees on justice and human rights, and on finance.

Under House Bill 5636 or the TRAIN Act, 40 percent of the additional revenues to be generated from the imposition of excise taxes on oil products will be allocated for a targeted cash transfer program to the poorest families, public utility operators and drivers and electricity consumers in small power utilities group areas or island-provinces not connected to the main grid.

The final version of the bill retained the value-added tax exemption for senior citizens and PWDs.

Earlier, Chua said the establishment of a national ID card system would help plug the massive leakage in the country’s value-added tax collections as it provides a secure way to identify senior citizens and PWDs.

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