What is the National ID system and what happened to it?
The National ID system made the news again last month when President Duterte said in one of his addresses that it could have helped the government when it comes to its aid distribution during the COVID-19 pandemic. So, what is the National ID system, and what happened to it?
A quick recap
In August 2018, President Duterte officially signed the Republic Act No. 11055 or the Philippine Identification System Act. Its goal is to establish a single national identification system referred to as the “Philippine Identification System” or “PhilSys”.
What is PhilSys?
The PhilSys is the government’s central identification platform for all citizens and resident aliens of the Philippines. An individual’s record in the PhilSys is considered as an official and sufficient proof of identity.
What is the purpose?
The PhilSys will provide valid proof of identity for all citizens and resident aliens as a means of simplifying public and private transactions. It also aims to eliminate the need to present other forms of identification when transacting with the government and the private sector, as well as to reduce corruption, strengthen financial inclusion, and promote ease of doing business.
The PhilSys will contain the following key components:
• PhilSys Number (PSN) – a randomly generated, unique, and permanent identification number assigned to an individual upon birth or registration by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA). It will be the standard number for the individual across all agencies of the government.
• PhilSys Registry – This contains the PSN, registered records, and information of all persons registered in the PhilSys. The PSA, as a repository and custodian of all data, shall create and maintain this registry.
• Phil ID – it is a nontransferable card shall preferably be issued to all citizens or resident aliens registered under the PhilSys subject to the guidelines to be issued by the PSA.
What data is collected and stored under the PhilSys?
Information to be collected and stored under the PhilSys shall be limited to the following:
• Full Name
• Date of Birth
• Place of Birth
• Blood Type
• Filipino or Resident Alien
• Marital Status (optional)
• Mobile number (optional)
• Email address (optional)
• Front Facing Photograph
• Full set of fingerprints
• Iris scan
What are the uses of the PhilID?
The PhilID will allow its holders to apply for eligibility and services and access to:
• Social welfare and benefits granted by the government
• Passports, driver’s license
• Tax-related transactions
• Admission in schools/government hospitals
• Opening of bank accounts
• Registration and voting purposes
• Transactions for employment purposes
• Cardholder’s criminal records and clearances
Where to register?
One year after the effectivity of the Act, every citizen or resident alien shall register personally with the following registration centers that have the necessary facilities to capture the information to be contained in the registry:
• PSA Regional and Provincial Offices
• Local Civil Registry Offices (LCROs)
• Government Service Insurance System (GSIS)
• Social Security System (SSS)
• Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth)
• Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF)
• Commission on Elections (COMELEC)
• Philippine Postal Corporation (PHLPost)
• Other government agencies and GOCCS as may be assigned by PSA
What happened to PhilSys?
In November 2019, the PSA announced that it had moved forward with the pilot test registration of PhilSys through the registration of the members of the House of Representatives (HOR), along with congressional staff and employees, starting 25 November 2019 until 05 December 2019.
The pilot test registration aims to test the functionality of the registration system and the efficiency of the registration process before its mass roll-out by mid-2020.
The PSA is also set to enroll officials and employees of select member agencies of the PhilSys Policy and Coordination Council this year as part of the pilot test registration – namely, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), Department of Budget and Management (DBM), Department of Finance (DOF), Bureau of Treasury (BTr), and Social Security System (SSS).
The PSA also announced that the multiple pilot tests shall be done until June 2020 to ensure the efficiency of the processes, functionality of the systems, and security and privacy of data captured. The PSA intends to enroll all Filipinos and resident aliens to the PhilSys by the end of 2022.
Affected by the COVID-19 pandemic
On April 14, 2020, a day after President Duterte said that the national ID system could have helped speed up the government’s aid distribution, the PSA published an update on the status of the PhilSys.
According to the PSA, they have temporarily suspended its PhilSys frontline undertakings in line with the pilot registration until further notice due to the health and security risks of COVID-19. However, as the PSA was granted exemptions to the ECQ, the PSA assures the general public that the development of PhilSys is ongoing, which will help achieve its implementation within 2020.
So far, the PSA was able to procure registration kits, have established partnerships with the BSP for PhilID card production and the DICT for the data centers and technical assistance, and made substantial advancements in the procurement of their systems. The PSA also said that they would make adjustments in their registration protocols in light of COVID-19.
“The public may rest assured that the PSA with its PhilSys Registry Office (PRO) is constantly working to complete systems calibration to meet our timeline and goal of registering most of the population by 2022,” said Usec. Claire Dennis S. Mapa, National Statistician and Civil Registrar General.
On the same day, April 14, Senate President Vicente Sotto III pushed for a probe on the slow implementation of the National ID system.
“We passed the national ID system almost two years ago, yet it has not been implemented by government. Ibasura ang red tape and proceed!” he added.
On April 15, Senate President Vicente Sotto III and Senator Panfilo Lacson filed a resolution directing a Senate inquiry on the status of implementation of the National ID system.
The senators said that “there seems to be no significant headway on its implementation,” despite the PHP 2 billion allocated budget every year from 2018 to 2020.
The investigation will begin once the Senate session resumes in May. Officials from the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) and the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) will also be invited.