CEBU City Hall’s purchase of 78,000 smart identification cards (ID) for some residents in the city will be taken from the social amelioration fund.

This was disclosed by City Administrator Lucelle Mercado after the City Council questioned the project, which cost P4.35 million, saying that no funds has been set aside for it under this year’s P13.4 billion budget.

In an interview yesterday, Mercado said the cost needed for the project will be charged to the estimated P12 to P15 million Accelerated Social Amelioration Program (Asap) fund.

Asap is from the social amelioration tax collected by the City from all business establishments serving liquors. A P10 amelioration tax is collected to every customer in places like night clubs, gambling establishments, disco clubs and bars.

Of the total funds collected for Asap, 55 percent of it will be used for social programs, while 40 percent will be for feeding programs and improvement of barangay health and day care centers.

Out of the 78,000 smart IDs, Mercado said 60,000 of these will be for the city’s elderly; 12,000 for the persons-with-disabilities (PWDs); 5,000 for City Hall employees; and 1,000 for regulated vendors.

According to Mercado, the procurement of ID’s can be charge to Asap funds, considering that its purpose is to address the concerns of the “disadvantaged sector” or the “vulnerable group” in the city.

“When you say amelioration fund, it is for the improvement of the disadvantaged sector. Og imong huna-hunaon (When you think about it), disadvantaged (sector) baya nang senior citizens, PWDs, vendors,” she said.

For the senior citizens and PWDs, Mercado said the procurement of smart cards will make it more efficient the release of their financial assistance.

This, since they will no longer have to line up in the barangays sports complex to claim their cash aid.

The elderly receives a total of P12,000 annual financial assistance from the City, while the PWD receives P5,000.

Aside from that, it will safeguard the City’s funds.

As for the employees, Mercado said the smart ID cards will serve as their ATM cards where their salaries will be deposited. It will also be used for their biometrics.

With this, Mercado said it will prevent employees from selling their cards to loan sharks.

For the vendors, Mercado said the issuance of smart ID cards will identify the regulated vendors in the city. It will also strengthen the City’s implementation of its “No ID, No Vending” policy.

All these were explained by Mercado together with Department of Social Welfare and Services Chief Ester Concha during the executive session last Wednesday called by the council on the procurement of ID cards.

Following the executive session, Mercado said the ball is now in the hands of the council on whether or not they will authorize Mayor Michael Rama to enter into and sign a memorandum of agreement with AllCard Plastics Philippines Inc.

AllCard, which is a Manila-based card solutions provider, is the winning bidder for the production of the city’s smart ID cards.