Philippines’ central bank and statistics authority sign deal on biometric ID rollout

The Philippines is moving one step closer to the rollout of its new biometric national ID system, with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) signing a memorandum of understanding (MoA) on ID card production, Philstar.com reports. PSA will be responsible for the data of each ‘PhilID,’ including the randomly generated Common Reference Number.

The central bank was reported earlier this year to be planning to produce 23 million biometric identity cards with fingerprints, along with face and iris data, in 2020.

Biographical information on the card includes name, sex, date of birth, place of birth, and address. Philstar also reports that other necessary identifiable features will be collected, but does not detail what those are. ID holders have the option of also including mobile numbers and email addresses.

Central bank Governor Benjamin Diokno said that organizing the printing as a government to government contract, rather than using an open tender process, will enable a fast roll-out by avoiding legal challenges to the tender decision that could take years to be settled by the courts. An estimated 14 percent of Filipinos are unable to prove their identity, and therefore are denied government and financial services.

The government has set aside P2 billion (US$39 million) for the project in the 2018 budget, which will centralize all data in the PhilSys database. The ID card will be piloted with 5,000 to 10,000 individuals during the initial rollout.

“As long as the pilot test show that we are implementing the national ID the right way, then it can be ramped up starting next year so that we will be able to cover 50 million registrants and then the following year, another 50 million so that by the end of this administration, we could cover virtually all Filipinos, including OFWs (overseas Filipino workers) and resident aliens,” says Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia.

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