The lockdowns in some towns of Negros Oriental due to rising Covid-19 cases have slowed down the government’s ongoing Philippine Identification System (PhilSys) registration being carried out by the Philippine Statistics Authority.
Engr. Ariel Fortuito, PSA-Negros Oriental chief, said yesterday that the towns of Mabinay and Siaton imposed a temporary lockdown in mid-April to prevent further spread of the disease while conducting contact tracing.
The local Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases in these towns has issued advisories on the total lockdowns, which, he said, affected many offices, and “we had to adhere to their advice to ensure the safety of our clients”.
The lockdowns have already been lifted recently and PSA’s Step 2 Registration for the national identification card is now ongoing in both towns, he added.
Meanwhile, Fortuito said that on Sunday, he was informed that Ayungon town has also announced a temporary lockdown from April 26-28 to allow the conduct of contact tracing for people who have been exposed to Covid-19 patients.
“This is one of the challenges that we are facing in the ongoing registration for the national ID system,” he said in a mix of Cebuano and English.
“We are running after time because, by the end of May, we will have to deploy some of the registration kits to other provinces as there are only 32 provinces that are currently undertaking the Step 2 Registration,” he said.
Fortuito said whether they meet the target or not, they will have to deploy some of the registration kits to other provinces in June for their Step 2 rollout.
For Negros Oriental, the priority targets for registration are the “no-income families” of more than 200,000 that have been identified and pre-registered last year, he said.
However, as not all have appeared for the Step 2 Registration since it rolled out last February, the PSA has started coordinating with government offices to accommodate their employees so that the activity can move forward, he added.
Current records at the PSA show a partial listing of 244,707 registrants as of April 25, Fortuito said.
The PSA is targeting to register until December this year around 400,000 people from the priority listing, he said.
Signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte in August 2018, Republic Act 11055, or the Philippine Identification System Act, aims to establish a single national ID for all Filipinos and resident aliens.
The national ID will be a valid proof of identity that shall be a means of simplifying public and private transactions, enrollment in schools, and the opening of bank accounts.
It will also boost efficiency, especially in dealing with government services where people will only need to present one ID during transactions.*PNA