PSA targets to enroll 25M Filipinos yearly in national ID system

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 9 Aug) – The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) targets to enroll 25 million Filipinos every year in the National Identification System as they plan to begin the mass rollout next year, according to Dr. Lisa Grace Bersales, National Statistician and Civil Registrar General.

During an economic press briefing on Wednesday, Bersales said there will be a pilot launch in the last quarter of 2018 with around a million beneficiaries of the government’s Unconditional Cash Transfer and another 1.6 million next year along with senior citizens, persons with disabilities, and indigenous people.

She said they plan to enroll in the system the entire population in three to five years.

Bersales said the members of the PhilSystem Policy and Coordination Council (PSPCC) will convene on August 15 to discuss the timeline of the implementation and the draft implementing rules and regulations (IRR), which will be finalized in two months.

The council is composed of National Economic and Development Authority as chair, PSA as co-chair, and members such as Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Budget and Management, Department of Information and Communications Technology, Department of Finance, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Interior Local Government, National Privacy Commission, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, Government Service Insurance System, Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, Social Security System, and Philippine Postal Corporation.

Bersales added that PSA with DICT and NPC would finalize the design of the ICT system.

A budget of at least P1.4 billion has been allocated for the procurement of the ICT system that utilizes “advance technology to ensure confidentiality and security of our database” but the indicative budget for the three to five-year implementation would be P30 billion.

She said they will tap PhilPost for the initial implementation of the ID system this year.

Bersales added they would also have a third party who would do the private impact assessment of the National ID System “to assure everyone that PSA has already instituted proper rules, guidelines, both technical and processes to ensure privacy of our citizens and those that are in the database.”

She explained that PhilSys would only “answer who are you and who you really say you are” to provide identity to citizens and resident aliens in the Philippines and to authenticate their identity during transactions.

She added the PhilSys database will be autonomous from other government agencies.

Bersales said PSA will announce soon the schedule of the registration centers across the country.

“The basic document that the citizens will bring to the registration centers is birth certificate. We will accept birth certificate issued anytime in the past,” she said.

Bersales said that senior citizens who would go the registration center without a birth certificate would still be enrolled. “But we will use different processes to address certain situations,” she added.

She said the first ID card would be free.

Under the system, she said a unique national ID number would be assigned to every individual and even for babies upon birth but a biometrics would be taken once they reach the age of majority.

Bersales said the council has yet to decide whether it would be 15 or 18 years old.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte signed last Monday the Philippine Identification System Act.

The President said the information that would be included in the Philippine ID would be the same information provided in the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), Government Service Insurance System, Philhealth, Home Development Mutual Fund or Pag-IBIG Fund, and Commission on Elections.

Duterte said the Philippine IDs, which will be issued to citizens and resident aliens, will eliminate the need to present multiple IDs for different government transactions that will enhance administrative governance, reduce corruption, curtail bureaucratic red tape, promote the ease of doing business avert fraudulent transactions, strengthen financial inclusion, and create a more secure environment for Filipinos.

“Several administrations before me have tried but failed to implement this very important measure, partly because of the apprehensions peddled by some groups about privacy and data security, among others,” he said.

The President said the single national ID will “aid in our drive against the social menaces of poverty, corruption and criminal issues, as well as terrorism and violent extremism.” (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)