Esperon: Gov't to start nat'l ID system even without law

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 8) — National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon said on Wednesday that they will begin with the national identification system even without a law.

Esperon said the government has allotted ₱2 billion this year so that the concerned agencies, led by the National Statistics Authority, may start the project.

"Let us look at the national id as a necessary tool for knowing every citizen of the Philippines," he said. " Therefore, it's an economic tool, it's a social (tool) and need not be a security tool. Pero magagamit din [But it can be used] as security tool."

Esperon said the national ID system may cost up to ₱20 billion.

He said the idea is for every citizen to have an ID from birth and will be renewed upon reaching the age of 18.

The House of Representatives approved its version of a national ID system bill in September 2017.

Read: House approves national ID bill on final reading

Under the measure, Filipinos who are at least 18 years old should register with the Filipino Identification System or FilSys at the local civil registry office where they live or at other implementing agencies to apply for an ID.

According to Population Committee Chairman Sol Aragones, a national ID would speed up government transactions as there would be no need for multiple identification cards to do business with different offices.

Meanwhile, Senator Panfilo Lacson, chairman of the subcommittee on the national ID system, said in December 2017 that the Senate is looking to pass its version of the bill by the first quarter of 2018.

Senators Antonio Trillanes IV and Manny Pacquiao both filed bills establishing a national ID system, but these remain pending in the committee level.

CNN Philippines Digital Producer VJ Bacungan contributed to this report.