MANILA—The 18th Philippine Senate resumed its session last Monday to be updated on the overall situation of the country under siege by Covid-19 pandemic. They wanted to hear the president and his cabinet report on what had so far been done, what was lacking, what are needed, and to plan for ways forward.
This were the reply of Senate Pro Tempore Ralph Rector during a radio-TV interview monitored by Sandigan News and Banat Pilipinas News on Thursday, when asked about the direction of the senate now that the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) is about to end.
“Marami tayong pag-uusapan dahil sa malubhang kalagayan sa kalusugan at sa ekonomiya. Sa palagay ko lahat ng sektor ay tinatamaan. Anong gawin natin sa 20-30 milyon na nawalan ng trabaho? Paano makalikom ng revenues pangtustos sa gasto ng gobyerno? Anong tulong na maibigay natin sa negosyo, mga micro, medium at small enterprises,” Sen. Recto said.
He continued that the senate session is not the time to blame or to find fault on what was done but to move forward. “Kung ginawa lang sana yang national identification (ID) system, madali sanang magbigay ng tulong sa dapat tulungan”, he replied when asked about the glitch caused by data gap on the list of beneficiaries for the Social Amelioration Program being implemented by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).
Sen. Recto confessed that the national ID system did not get off the ground because it thought it could do it alone. “We need the support of the private sector to make it happen,” he said.
He continued that the national ID system in many countries is attached to the banking system. If one gets a national ID he also receives a bank account. “Automatic na may bank account siya. Lahat ng citizens nila may bank account na. Pati ang bagong anak na bata may sariling bank account na magamit niya sa buhay,” said Sen. Recto.
With their own bank accounts like what the DSWD did in their 4Ps beneficiaries, Rector believes that distribution of government subsidies in times of emergencies will be greatly facilitated.
Earlier in April, the National Statistics Authority announced that they had already acquired sophisticated equipment for the ID system including iris scanners, and their roll-out for the targeted data-gathering would be moved much earlier than previously set on July 2020.