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“The Philippine Identification System (PhilSys), a project led by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) has the potential to transform the access and delivery of services in the public and private sectors and accelerate growth and dynamism of the Philippines’ digital economy.”
— NEDA Acting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick T. Chua
By EDD K. USMAN
(SDN) — FILIPINOS, obviously, are embracing the government’s initiative for a single national ID, officially dubbed the Philippine Identification System, or PhilSys.
In fact, there are already at least 10 million who completed the Step 1 of acquiring a PhilSys ID starting in October 2019.
The rollout of the government program will continue in January 2021 for the next steps.
Acting Socioecoonmic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick T. Chua, head of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), revealed this in an interview on DWIZ radio over the weekend.
He said the plan was to have the registration steps in one process –registration, biometrics, etc. — last year but the coronavirus disrupted the program.
Now, he said, because of the quarantine protocols, social distancing and others, the implementation of PhilSys which is led by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), had to adopt to the health pandemic.
Pandemic disrupted PhilSys ID rollout in 2019
Chua was referring to the house-to-house registration (Step 1) the government had to implement. This means, as he explained, that PSA personnel visited households to register the members for Step 1.
“It can’t be done in whole because of the pandemic,” the youthful NEDA chief pointed out in the radio interview.
He cited the taking of fingerprint which could potentially risked the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the pathogen that causes the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) as named by the World Health Organization (WHO) on March 11, 2020.
Chua described the single ID for Filipinos through PhilSys as “fail-safe, a priority of the Duterte administration.”
Those who conducted the house-to-house registration were equipped with tablets. “There are already 10 million registered for Step 1,” he revealed.
Chua said those who completed Step 1 will be given schedule, or their mobile numbers taken, for Step 2 (taking of biometrics). “It will be like applying for a passport (being done online).” Other steps include release of ID numbers and the ID itself.
The NEDA head said the government chose 32 priority provinces, which the Department of Social Work and Development (DSWD) provided. They were targeted because the provinces have many poor residents known by virtue of DSWD’s various programs for the poor such as the Social Amelioration Program (SAP), etc.
In an earlier news release from NEDA, Chua cited the importance of the PhilSys ID in unlocking the potential of the country’s digital economy.
“Digital economy plays a key role in shaping the new normal of the country as both the society and economy will be moving away from long-held manual, analog, or legacy practices. Especially now as the country transitions into a new normal, Filipinos are starting to dive into a contactless world where the majority of interactions must take place virtually,” he emphasized.
“Digital technologies can help facilitate social distancing and continuity of businesses and also enhance productivity of businesses, provide opportunities for people, especially MSMEs, and facilitate more efficient public service,” Chua said. (MSMEs stands for micro, small and medium enterprises.)
National ID captures 10 demographic information
He continued: “The Philippine Identification System (PhilSys), a project led by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), has the potential to transform the access and delivery of services in the public and private sectors and accelerate growth and dynamism of the Philippines’ digital economy.”
The PhilSys ID has various demographic information, such as full name of holder, gender, birth date, birth place, type of blood, address, biometric data (facial image, full set of fingerprints, and iris scan).
As a single National ID, it will integrate all IDs, designed to be an all-in-one inclusive identification document.
The government plans to provide at least 90 million Filipinos with the PhilSys ID by the end of President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s six-year term in 2022. (✓)