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Philippines pilots pre-registration for biometric national ID program as private digital ID systems grow

Philippines pilots pre-registration for biometric national ID program as private digital ID systems grow

A pilot project to collect all information other than biometrics needed for the Philippine Identification System (PhilSys) national ID program has been carried out by the Philippines Statistics Authority (PSA), according to The Philippine Star.

The small pilot was carried out in Marikina City in late-July, with volunteering household-heads providing all demographic information to PSA enumerators during door-to-door visits. The pilot was intended to identify any gaps in the process. The full registration process is expected to begin in the fourth quarter of 2020.

“The pre-registration process is being developed so that only the capture of biometric information, that is, fingerprints, iris scans, and front-facing photographs, will be done during the actual onsite registration process,” said National Statistician Dennis Mapa.

Collecting names, ages, and other information ahead of time is expected to reduce the amount of time each person must spend onsite. Members of unbanked households considered to have low income will be prioritized in the registration process, as the government attempts to use the PhilSys to support social protection and financial inclusion efforts, while the Philippines shifts toward a digital economy.

Enabling low income families to open bank accounts with digital identity can make them less vulnerable to informal lending practices, and also speed up government aid disbursement, Mapa says. Transactions with the government are also expected to be simplified and made more efficient with the digital ID.

Government services enabled by digital identity have been gradually upgrading in the country, with Dermalog supporting a new portal for driver’s licenses and related services launched earlier this year.

Ecommerce and streaming platforms get digital ID boost

A credit card specifically for ecommerce has been launched in the country through a partnership between Union Bank of the Philippines, Lazada Philippines and Mastercard, The Manila Times reports.

The UnionBank Lazada Credit Card allows cardholders to accumulate Lazada wallet credits, P6 (US$0.12) for every P200 ($4.08) spent with ecommerce company Lazada, or P1 ($0.02) for P200 spent outside the platform.

“Mastercard is pleased to partner with the country’s multi-awarded digital bank and the top e-commerce platform in Southeast Asia to deliver more value to Filipino e-customers,” said Rowell del Fierro, Mastercard country manager for the Philippines, according to the Times.

Live streaming app Kumu, which has millions of users in the Philippines, has partnered with Element to build artificial intelligence and digital identity features for its rapidly-scaling community, according to a company announcement. The features are expected to enhance the platform’s security and enable transactions.

“We’ve deeply admired what Kumu’s created across their product, platform and community, and watched their surge of growth and engagement in this unprecedented era with heartfelt applause – Kumu has become a fundamental part of daily life for so many,” comments Adam Perold, co-founder and CEO of Element.

“Amidst a time of isolation measures that have limited the traditional economic means of people across the Philippines and beyond, the Kumu community has thrived, with its digital coins and ecommerce engines providing a platform for Millennial and Gen Z members to earn up to six figures salaries, helping them support their families, build savings, and create an independent lifestyle.”

Kumu is the country’s leading live streaming app, according to the announcement.

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