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Philippines biometric national ID project advances with 28M Phase One registrants

Philippines biometric national ID project advances with 28M Phase One registrants

Up to 28 million Filipinos participated in the first phase of registration for the Philippine Identification System (PhilSys) which seeks to put in place a biometric national ID card for all citizens and legal residents in the country, the Philippine News Agency (PNA) reports.

According to data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), 17.3 million citizens out of the 28 million already signed up for the PhilSys, did so this year.

About 32 of the country’s province have already completed the first phase of the registration process, which focused on collecting demographic information such as full name, gender, date, and place of birth, blood type, and address of the registrants.

The second phase kicked off early this year, and includes the authentication of supporting documents and the capture of biometric information, while the third stage will see the rollout of the ID card known as PhilID.

Some top officials in the country, including President Rodrigo R. Duterte, have already received their cards. In an outing last month, the President called on citizens to register for the scheme so that they can use the ID to access a number of services in government and the private sector.

The Filipino biometric digital ID scheme is a project that seeks to establish a unique source of identification for all. It was kick-started in 2018 when a parliamentary Act was signed into law.

The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) says they hope to register at least 70 million Filipinos for the scheme by the end of the year, and at least 100 million by mid-2022. The biometric cards will replace all existing ID documents, except the passport, driver’s license and the UMID card, per PNA.

‘One Filipino, one bank account’

Meanwhile, as the registration PhilSys is ongoing, one of the country’s Senators says he will go ahead with a legislative proposal intended to make it an obligation for every Filipino to own one bank account, PNA reports.

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, who is vice chairperson of the Senate Committee on Banks, Financial Institutions and Currencies, said the policy which he has dubbed ‘one Filipino, one bank account,’ will also encourage a contactless and cashless payment economy, taking advantage of the fact that more than 74 million Filipinos use smartphones.

According to Senator Gatchalian, the policy is important especially within the context of the pandemic, as citizens could also access government financial assistance through cashless means.

The PNA report makes mention of a financial inclusion survey carried out by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas in 2019 which found that more than 70 percent of Filipino adults do not own bank accounts.

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