Even before all voters have received their identification cards, the Commission on Elections is planning to come out with a new ID card, to be piloted in Metro Manila. The Comelec’s bids and awards committee is reportedly inviting bidders who can supply an initial three million enhanced voter’s ID cards at P50 each, for a total of P150 million.
Before this contract is awarded and public funds paid, the Comelec should coordinate with the House of Representatives, whose members are also working on Malacañang-supported legislation to launch a national ID system. The proposed system might include a voter’s ID.
In fact, to save precious public funds, starting with that P150 million for a pilot project, the national ID must also function as a voter’s ID. Voters’ biometrics were collected ages ago, during the Arroyo administration when the Comelec was rocked by a corruption scandal involving Chinese telecommunications firm ZTE. It took forever for most of the voter’s ID cards to be released.
With the ID cards finally in their possession, voters are now being told that they might have to obtain new ones. Will the ID cards be available by the time the mid-term elections roll around in two years?
The government has a problem producing official documents and other items. Driver’s license cards are being released in trickles. Many motorists have given up trying to find out if their vehicle license plates will ever be available. All these products are paid for upon application. Where does the money go? Is there a lucky individual or group scooping up everything at the bottom of the sinkhole?
Aside from the hassle of applying for and securing new voter’s ID cards, tax money will be spent to produce the cards. Will this money also vanish in a sinkhole? The Comelec can still review this plan, and coordinate with Congress regarding the proposed national ID. The House, after all, will have to approve funding for another voter’s ID. All Comelec preparations for a new voter’s ID could simply end up down the drain.