THE procurement of 78,000 identification cards (IDs) for some Cebu City residents was questioned by the City Council.

Bidding for the project, which costs P4.35 million, has taken place even if it has no share of this year’s P13.4-billion budget for the City Government.

The winning bidder for the production of the Cebu City Government Unified Beneficiary Smart ID Cards is the Manila-based AllCard Plastics Philippines Inc., a card solutions provider.

In a June 17 executive session called by the council, AllCard President Roy Ebora said the smart ID card system will cover the estimated 60,000 senior citizens in the city, 5,000 employees of City Hall and 5,000 persons with disabilities (PWD), among others.

Salaries of City Hall employees will be coursed through the smart cards as well as the financial assistance given by the City to the elderly (P12,000 annually) and the PWDs (P5,000 annually).

For senior citizens and PWD, this means they will no longer have to line up in the barangay sports complex to claim their cash aid.

Aside from this, Ebora said the implementation of the smart ID card system will ensure that the database of the City is accurate and consistent with the profile of the beneficiaries.

Councilor Sisinio Andales asked Ebora when the bidding was conducted for the program. The latter said it was held late last year.

Councilor Margarita Osmeña, chairperson of the council’s committee on budget and finance, said there is no budget appropriation for the program.

“We don’t know where they will charge it,” she said.

The ID system is initiated by the Department of Social Welfare and Services (DSWS).

While DSWS presented the program to the council during the hearing last year for the 2015 budget, Osmeña said its proposed budget of P30 million was not approved.

Sun.Star Cebu tried to get a statement from DSWS chief Ester Concha about the matter yesterday but repeated calls were unanswered.

City Administrator Lucelle Mercado said that Concha is on leave and will be back on Monday yet.

Asked about the ID system, Mercado said there is an initial budget of more than P4 million for it under DSWS’s P266.4- million budget this year.

Mercado said, though, she doesn’t know what specific account the program will be charged against.

“On Monday, I will clarify this with her (Concha),” she said.

During Wednesday’s executive session, the council asked Mercado to appear before them to shed light on the smart card program.

Mercado, however, did not attend, saying she is yet to talk to Concha. “Gusto pa nako ma-klaro tanan kay sa magpataka ko ug sulti didto (I want to clarify things so I won’t say anything wrong there),” she said.

Aside from the budget, Andales asked why the design for the smart ID card is colored yellow and green, which are the colors of Mayor Michael Rama’s political group Team Rama.

Ebora told the legislative body the design was made by DSWS.

“But the council should be consulted. We should not bypass the council,” said Andales.

Councilor Eugenio Gabuya Jr. then said the program should have been presented to the council before the bidding.

The council conducted an executive session about the smart cards after Councilor Lea Japson filed a proposed resolution that seeks to authorize Rama to enter into and sign a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with AllCard.

The council is yet to approve the MOA.