Every Filipino will have access to financial services and development opportunities through a national ID, Surigao del Norte 2nd District Rep. Robert Ace Barbers said as he thanked President Rodrigo Duterte for signing the PhilSys Act creating the national identification system.
“Majority of Filipinos are denied of financial services because they do not have identification cards,” said Barbers, one of the principal sponsors of the PhilSys or Philippine System Identification Act.
“For instance, when opening a bank account, most banks require two forms of identification. Filipinos want to keep money in banks, but how could they if majority don’t have proper ids? Saving money in a bank helps us develop the habit of saving and leads to a better relationship with financial institutions. This in turn could lead to potential investments and could ultimately lead to financial freedom,” Barbers added.
A Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas study shows that fewer Filipinos are saving money through formal financial institutions such as banks and cooperatives, which Barbers said could be attributed to their lack of proper identification documents.
Barbers also believes the Philippine ID system could combat money laundering and terrorist financing.
“Tougher banking regulations, coupled with a universal ID system, could be used as an additional safeguard to prevent money laundering and financing of terrorism as the ID system would prevent money launderers and terrorists from creating fictitious bank accounts,” said the congressman.
Barbers, chairman of the House Committee on Dangerous Drugs, further said that the Philippine ID will be an effective tool against organized crime groups such as drug syndicates, kidnap-for-ransom gangs and bank robbery syndicates.
“The national ID system could also help our anti-crime and anti-drug campaign as crime suspects will be easier to identify. With the PhilSys, it will be a lot harder to escape the long arm of the law,” he said.