South Cotabato Gov wants national ID system implemented ASAP amid COVID-19 pandemic

KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews / 26 April) – The governor of South Cotabato is calling for the speedy implementation of the national ID system” for the efficient and prompt delivery” of government assistance to deserving beneficiaries in the time of crisis.

Governor Reynaldo Tamayo, Jr. pushed for the immediate implementation of the national ID system following the distribution of the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) funds here starting Friday that saw a rowdy crowd vying to get ahead of each other.

“Maybe this is the right time that we need this centralized ID system. It would be easy for the government to monitor and distribute (cash and relief assistance when crisis strikes),” he told reporters.

General Santos Drive, a main thoroughfare in Koronadal City, is deserted as the city implements “No Movement Sunday” on 19 April 2020 to prevent the spread of COVID-19. MindaNews photo by BONG S. SARMIENTO

Republic Act 11055 or the Philippine Identification System Act was approved two years ago.

Senator Panfilo Lacson, author of RA 11055, last week called on theNational Economic and Development Authority to fast-track the implementation of the national ID system, as directed by President Rodrigo Duterte.

Lacson said priority for the national ID system should be extended to the marginalized sector and those targeted for financial assistance because of the COVID-19 crisis.

Critics such as the human rights group Karapatan asserted that the national ID system would intrude on privacy rights and can be used to expose the people to surveillance by state forces. 

South Cotabato Gov. Reynaldo Tamayo, Jr. speaks to the media regarding the province’s measures against COVID-19 at his office in Koronadal City on March 16, 2020. (Photo courtesy of the Provincial Information Office)

Backing calls for the national government to fast-track the implementation of a centralized ID system, Tamayo said the national ID would also be a “reliable and handy tool” for local government units to use in times of crisis.

He noted that the COVID-19 situation provides the “timely window for the national government to push the implementation of the national ID system,” especially in identifying those deserving to get priority assistance.

As of 5 p.m. Saturday, April 25, 13 of the 16 confirmed COVID-19 patients have recovered in the region of at least 4.5 million people, the Department of Health – Soccsksargen COVID-19 tracker showed.

The region recorded only one deceased COVID-19 patient:  PH 600 from Sultan Kudarat province.

Of the 330 suspected COVID-19 case in the region, 31 are still admitted, 85 had been discharged,  191 are under home quarantine and 23 have died, DOH-Soccsksargen reported.

Of the suspect COVID-19 deaths, 18 have negative test results, two are still pending while no specimens were collected from three others.

Soccksargen straddles the provinces of South Cotabato, North Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat and Sarangani and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong and Kidapawan.

Only Sarangani has no recorded COVID-19 case so far.

Cotabato City, which voted inclusion to the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, is still considered under the ambit of DOH-Soccsksargen. It has six confirmed cases but all of them have recovered. (Bong S. Sarmiento / MindaNews)