Philippines Begins Roll-out of New National ID System

PhilSys will mean wider inclusion in the financial ecosystem for the unbanked, allowing cash aid, credit and other welfare spending to reach them faster. 

The Philippines this week started rolling out its new national ID system, two years since the Philippine Identification System Act was signed into law.

Known as ‘PhilSys’, the new system seeks to create a single official identification card for all citizens that integrates and interconnects various government-issued IDs.

The PSA (Philippine Statistics Authority) started collecting data for PhilSys registrations on Monday (12 October), with a target of having 92 million Philippine nationals registered by June 2022, before President Rodrigo Duterte ends his terms.

Each ID contains ten pieces of demographic information, including the holder’s full name, gender, date of birth, place of birth, blood type, address and whether they are Filipino nationals. The IDs also contain biometric data including a facial image, a full set of fingerprints, and an iris scan.

The national ID project got off to a rocky start, plagued by cybersecurity issues, allegations of bidding irregularities, and then the pandemic. The initial plan was for the new ID cards to start being issued in April 2020.

Amid the pandemic, PhilSys pre-registrations are currently focused on low-risk areas, initially targeting low-income households, with enumerators going door to door to collect the required information.

This will be followed by registration – which involves the validation and biometric capture of the registrants’ fingerprints, iris scan, and photographs – starting at the end of November.

Registration for the general public and the issuance of PhilSys ID numbers and cards will begin in 2021.

The PhilSys ID card is expected to eventually replace most other government-issued cards to simplify access to public and financial services.

In December 2018, the BSP (Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas) said it would require the PhilSys number to be included as part of the minimum information collected by financial institutions and banks before carrying out a financial transaction.

PhilSys will mean wider inclusion in the financial ecosystem for the unbanked, allowing them to open bank accounts and avail of financial services more easily, and enabling cash aid, credit and other welfare spending to reach them faster.

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