National ID
TO THE QUICK - Jerry S. Tundag (The Freeman) - August 10, 2018 - 12:00am

Just what kind of animal this so-called National ID is, I do not know. And I presume no less than 99,999,000 other Filipinos do not know either, much less understand what it is supposed to do. All that the very few Filipinos who have heard about it know is that the law creating it was signed by President Duterte only very recently.


This plus a very few details that, instead of enlightening people, only serve to open up even more questions. Among these details are that the National ID will not be compulsory, that it will not do away with other forms of identification such as drivers licenses, SSS and GSIS cards and the like, and that it will be free.

If the National ID is not compulsory, then what the heck is it for? But before I go any further, let me first bring to light a very real but very stupid situation that is obtaining in this red-tape-wrapped country we have the ultimate discomfort of calling ours. In the Philippines, you need an ID to get an ID if you do not have one.

Let me explain. In this country, not everyone has the great fortune of ever being to school or been employed. Schools and employment are the main sources of IDs. A great many Filipinos who have never been to school or been employed therefore do not have any IDs.

But sometimes fortune changes the lives of these people. And so perhaps a son or a daughter manages to find employment abroad and there might be occasion for them to ask for their parents to come visit them. Alas, these parents do not have an ID to their names and thus cannot get a passport because to get one requires at least two IDs. How crazy can it get?

Now back to the National ID. Its being non-compulsory already making its existence at the very least questionable, its obvious inability to replace or supersede such IDs as a driver’s license or those of the SSS and GSIS makes it even more so. Why then must anyone have a National ID when, for all intents and purposes, there is no better national ID than a passport?

A passport is the only national ID that establishes a person’s identity in a way that is respected by all countries in the world. The national ID that is the subject of our discussion will not gain its holder entry to any country in the world, including ASEAN members that do not require visas. Only passports will do. It is passports that the government should make easy to obtain.

Just because this new national ID is ostensibly free does not in any way sugarcoat its uselessness. Besides, how can it be totally free when an applicant is made to submit requirements that entail a lot of expenses? A birth certificate costs money. So does an NBI clearance, to name a few that have already been complied with to establish identity for passports and other IDs.

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