Philippines begins ID cards delivery, plans biometric KYC launch by year end

National digital ID registrations approach 1M
Philippines begins ID cards delivery, plans biometric KYC launch by year end

Digital ID cards are now being distributed to Filipinos who have completed the biometric phase of registration with the Philippines Identification System (PhilSys), according to information from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

The distribution process, which is being done with the collaboration of the Philippine Postal Corporation (PHLPost), started on May 1 and the PhilID, as it is known, will be used as the only valid proof of identity. It will enable holders to access certain public services such as enrollment in schools and the opening of a bank account among other uses, the PSA said in a press release.

By the end of this year, PSA expects to launch biometric authentication and Know Your Customer (KYC) services based on fingerprint biometrics, facial scans and One Time Passwords (OTPs) which will enable the authentication and verification of digital ID holders without requiring their physical cards.

Dennis S. Mapa, PSA Undersecretary and Civil Registrar General, in a statement, called on all stakeholders to support the initiative so that the PhilID will be widely accepted as the only proof of ID.

“Achieving our vision of a digital ecosystem with PhilSys cannot be done by the PSA alone. We need the cooperation of all to realize our financial inclusion and social protection goals – from the PhilSys registrants to government agencies, financial institutions, and businesses. I enjoin the government and private sector to actively participate in the PhilSys implementation by honoring and accepting the PhilID as sufficient, valid proof of identity in line with the law, without the need to present any other ID. Many Filipinos, especially the poor and marginalized, are unable to access basic economic and social services for lacking a ‘valid ID’. With the cooperation of various entities, the PhilSys, through the PhilID, will finally make transactions easier for them,” Mapa said.

The importance of PhilID, PhilSys Number (PSN) and PhilSys Card Number (PCN), and of keeping them confidential was explained by the PSA in a website post reported by PNA. The three IDs are used for opening bank accounts, accessing government services, and applying for credit. The PhilID is used for government benefits, driver’s license and passport applications, and identity verification within the healthcare system, while the PCN can be used without the physical ID card for public and private sector transactions.

The PSN includes highly sensitive data, and should only be shared when required by law, the PSA advises.

Online PhilSys registration ongoing

Meanwhile, the PSA also announced that nearly a million people have already complete step 1 registration for the cards in an online process which has been ongoing since last month.

As at May 13, a total of 849,862 had completed the online registration formalities, the Philippine News Agency reports.

The process requires potential registrants to fill in online forms with their demographic information, after which they can book an appointment with any PhilSys center for the second step, which includes biometrics enrolment.

The PSA said the government has been insisting on the online registration method in order for citizens to respect physical distancing, safety and security measures because of the pandemic.

In March, President Rodrigo Duterte announced he had collected his own card and urged fellow Filipinos to procure theirs so they can enjoy access to many public government and private services.

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