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National ID rollout to focus on areas with few active COVID-19 cases

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PHILSTAR

THE GOVERNMENT will focus on 32 provinces and cities with low active case counts for the coronavirus when pre-registration for the National ID system starts next week, economic planners said.

In an online briefing Tuesday, National Economic and Development Authority Undersecretary Rosemarie G. Edillon said the government has narrowed down the priority provinces to minimize the risk of further spreading coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

“With respect to the 32 priority provinces, we are looking at those with low number of active cases of COVID-19 kasi (because) we want this initiative to be safe for both the public and then also for the PSA (Philippine Statistics Authority) personnel,” she said.

At the same briefing, Interior and Local Government Undersecretary Jonathan E. Malaya said the 32 areas are: Ilocos Sur, La Union, Pangasinan, Cagayan, Isabela, Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Tarlac, Zambales, Batangas, Cavite, Laguna, Quezon province, Rizal, Albay, Camarines Sur, Masbate, Antique, Capiz, Iloilo City, Negros Occidental, Bohol, Cebu City, Negros Oriental, Leyte, Compostella Valley, Davao del Sur, Davao del Norte, Davao Occidental and Tawi-Tawi.

“We will proceed with the rollout of pre-registration this first week of October, tuloy tuloy na po ito (we will proceed until) we are able to initially register 5 million pre-registrants and 5 million registrants before the end of the year and the rest of the country will be done next year,” Mr. Malaya added.

Ms. Edillon said in a text message after the briefing that full registration, which includes biometrics, will still depend on the status of the pandemic.

“The target is to start it next week. Actually, for the pre-registration, the target is to cover up to 9 million heads of household; of course, it will have to be recalibrated depending on the COVID situation in the area,” she said.

She said the plan is to have heads of household pre-register without requiring them to give biometrics such as fingerprints and iris scans out of safety considerations.

Pre-registration, however, will yield more data on socio-demographics ahead of full registration, she said.

She said the data to be gathered could include bank accounts, to make distribution of government aid and other cash transfers easier.

The National ID program, formally known as the Philippine Identification System, has been given a P4.1-billion budget for next year, according to the Budget department.

The government wants to register 40 million heads of household next year and another 40 million in 2022, to cover “most” Filipinos before the administration’s six-year term ends.

The program was authorized under Republic Act No. 11055 passed in August 2018. — Beatrice M. Laforga

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