Sen. Panfilo Lacson has called on the national government to speed up the implementation of the multi-billion National ID System and pour more funding for research and development (R&D).
Lacson noted that the National ID system was signed into law nearly two years ago but it has yet to be rolled out. “There is no other time than now where it is most needed,” he said.
He added: “I hope the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) can fast-track the implementation of the National ID system, as directed by the President.”
The lawmaker said NEDA should have ample help from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) as the frontline agency, and the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) which also plays a major role.
“The first question is, is the system ready to accept registrants? If so, they should give priority to the marginalized sector, and those targeted for financial assistance because of the Covid-19 crisis,” Lacson said.
Lacson also said the P10-million offer by Pres. Rodrigo Duterte to whoever can develop a vaccine for Covid-19 would mean much more if the government invested more on research and development than the token annual average share of 0.4% from the General Appropriations Act.
“We only need to look at how much the most prosperous countries spend on R&D to see why we are among the laggards. Even if we bump up the percentage to 1 or 2 percent of the national budget, it would make a major difference,” he said.