Philippine Identification System Act has been signed into law

The Philippine Identification System Act has been signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte, enshrining the new biometric “Phil-ID” as the only document necessary for performing government transactions.

The PhilSys Registry underlying the system will include biographic data, along with a photograph for facial recognition, a full set of fingerprints and iris scan data, included in a QR code on the Phil-ID card, ABS-CBN News reports.

A previous national ID bill was quashed by the country’s Supreme Court for a lack of mandated security protection for its database, but Senate minority leader Franklin Drilon, who was the upper chamber’s principle author of the new law, said data collected under the new system will be protected by the Philippines Data Privacy Act, according to Gulf News Philippines. He also noted that the information collected is not different from that currently collected for different government IDs.

The cards will be issued for free to voluntarily participating Filipinos, who can register with a birth certificate or through a special process. A government official said that the current system leaves 14 percent of Filipinos unable to use government and financial services due to a lack of acceptable identity documents.

The new national ID system replaces a patchwork of ID cards issued by different agencies, and was passed by the Philippines legislature in May.

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