THE PHILIPPINES still does not have a working national ID system six years after it was enacted, a lawmaker pointed out on Thursday as he sought an explanation from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) for the program’s slow rollout.

“It’s been almost six years since the national ID was enacted into law and I was one of those lawmakers who first filled in the PSA forms to have one. I’ve all but given up on waiting for my national ID. It seems they forgot about issuing it,” Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace S. Barbers, one of the principal authors of RA 11055, said in a statement released to media.

He also questioned the lack of the bearer’s signature on the national ID, which he said makes it “an inferior form of proof of identity” compared to passports and driver’s licenses.

Approved into law in 2018 as Republic Act (RA) No. 11055, the Philippine Identification System Act sought to serve as the national identification system for all Filipinos and resident aliens in the Philippines. However, various complaints regarding its rollout speed and not being accepted as valid proof of identity continue to hound PhilSys despite being signed into law almost six years ago.

The PSA said in a statement almost two years ago that it planned to issue a total of 50 million national IDs come end-2022. However, the statistics agency only managed to hit its goal a year later than its deadline.

In its latest data, the PSA said in a statement that it managed to print and dispatch for delivery a total of 50.3 million national IDs. — Kenneth Christiane L. Basilio