By Darryl John Esguerra, December 16, 2020; Philippine Daily Inquirer

Manila, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte and his Cabinet approved the proposed P3.52-billion additional budget for the implementation of the national ID system for 2021, Malacañang said Wednesday.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the additional funds will be used to register 20 million more individuals to the Philippine Identification System (PhilSys) by the end of 2021. This is on top of the 50 million target registration.

Signed by Duterte in August 2018, the PhilSys Act or Republic Act No. 11055 seeks to harmonize and integrate several government IDs by establishing a single national identification system for all citizens and resident aliens through the collection of basic personal information and biometric data.

The pre-registration process for the national ID system started only last October, covering around five million Filipinos from 32 provinces.

The delay in the implementation of the national ID system was highlighted during the distribution of the government’s emergency cash subsidies amid the COVID-19 pandemic which was marred with delays due to concerns on security, the reconciliation of lists of beneficiaries, and logistical challenges.

Roque likewise announced that Duterte has approved the plans of the recently-created Task Force Build Back Better (TFBBB) on flood mitigation and management in Cagayan Province and Marikina City.

Duterte earlier issued Executive Order No. 120, strengthening rehabilitation and recovery efforts in typhoon-hit areas through the creation of TFBBB.