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The Philippines to Introduce National Mobile ID Programme

To supplement the rollout of its new Philippine Identification (PhilID) card, the Philippines will introduce a new mobile ID. The mobile version will enable registered citizens to take advantage of the benefits of the national ID while they wait for their physical card to arrive in the mail.

As of now, the Philippine Postal Corporation has distributed 1,048,255 PhilID cards across the country. Nevertheless, millions more have already completed the registration process, and the government has indicated that once step two of the process is completed, people may have to wait six months for their card.

The government is expected that the national ID programme will boost the Philippine economy and eventually bring the country into the digital age. To that end, the Philippine Identification card can be used as proof of identity in public and private interactions to foster trust.

I have always believed and advocated for digital transformation within the government to strengthen policy-making and service delivery. The government and businesses alike need to use data science to make better policies. This has become even more urgent in the new normal.

Director-general of NEDA

The mobile version of the ID will serve a similar purpose and will be able to be used to complete both in-person and online transactions. Each ID will be linked to a unique PhilSys (Philippine Identification System) number, which holders will be able to share to verify their identity while doing business.

The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) has stated that mobile IDs will be issued later this year. The PSA oversees putting the PhilSys programme into action, which will also make it easier for Filipinos to open bank accounts and gain access to various government services. In this regard, the PhilID will be accepted as sufficient identification for all interactions with government agencies.

According to a report, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) expects the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) to register 50 to 70 million people for the national digital ID by the end of the year. It is noted that as of July 2, 37.2 million people had completed Step 1, which involves the collection of demographic information, and 16.2 million had completed Step 2, which involves the capture of biometrics at designated registration centres.

Speaking on the progress being made by the digital ID project, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary at NEDA said: “The COVID-19 crisis underscores the need to provide unhampered access to banking and social services for all Filipinos, especially the poor. Therefore, the President gave the directive to accelerate the implementation of the Philippine Identification System or PhilSys to provide all Filipinos with a unique and digitalised ID.”

To collaborate, OpenGov Asia reported that the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) has stressed the importance of data science, analytics, and digital transformation that would help make better policies and deliver better services in government.

He acknowledged to the participants at the 2021 Analytics Summit PH the importance of digitalisation during the pandemic when social protection programmes must be delivered efficiently using information and communications technology (ICT). “I have always believed and advocated for digital transformation within the government to strengthen policy-making and service delivery. The government and businesses alike need to use data science to make better policies. This has become even more urgent in the new normal,” the NEDA director-general said.

The director-general also mentioned that the most difficult aspect of implementing the social amelioration programme (SAP) for 18 million families and the small business wage subsidy (SBWS) for 3.1 million workers was ensuring that these critical emergency responses reached the people, the majority of whom were unbanked or had no access to formal financial services.

“At the height of the crisis, there was no single registry or database of Filipinos to identify beneficiaries. At the same time, 71% of the total adult population did not have bank accounts, making it difficult to efficiently disburse the subsidies. Therefore, the President gave the directive to accelerate the implementation of the Philippine Identification System to provide all Filipinos with a unique and digitalised ID,” he said.

With the passage of the Philippine Identification System Act in 2018, the Philippines formally began its national ID programme, though the country had already begun laying the groundwork for a biometric national ID programme. The country has carried out biometric voter registration and linked people’s facial biometrics to their PhilID cards.


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