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National ID program suffers P1.435B cut in 2020 budget

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By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN

The pilot implementation of the government’s National ID system program has suffered a huge setback after members of the bicameral conference committee of the 2020 budget have slashed its original program allocation by almost 59 percent.

Politiko obtained a copy of the ratified bicameral conference committee report for the proposed P4.1-trillion General Appropriations Act (GAA) for next year, wherein from the original P2.435 billion, Congress has only allotted a total of P1 billion for the maiden implementation of the National ID System—one of the key programs of the Duterte administration.

“Delete the amount in words and figures ‘Two Billion Four Hundred Fifty Three Million Eight Hundred Fifty Three Thousand Pesos (P2,435,853,000)’ in lieu thereof insert the amount in words and in figures ONE BILLION PESOS (P1,000,000,000),” the amendment read.

A total of P1.435 billion was slashed by the bicam in the ratified version of House Bill No. 4228, also known as the General Appropriations Bill (GAB) for Fiscal Year 2020.

Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto earlier has expressed concern that the rollout of the National ID System will be derailed since zero funding was made in the “programmed portion” of the 2020 National Expenditure Program (NEP) after it was submitted to Congress last August.

Meanwhile, Laguna Rep. Sol Aragones got irked over the inclusion of a blacklisted firm in the bidding for the second pahse of the program’s implementation.

Aragones, one of the main proponents of the program in the House of Representatives disclosed “Idemia and FMC,” which was blacklisted by the World Bank last May for “questionable and corrupt practices,” was allowed to participate in the bidding for the Phase 2 of the National ID System’s implementation.

Idemia and FMC, a company involved in databank and personal identification technology, was flagged for allegedly engaging in corrupt and collusive practices in Bangladesh.

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