PhilSys surpasses 10M biometric enrollments, online milestone
The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) has announced that over 10 million individuals have completed Step 2 registration for the Philippine Identification System (PhilSys) biometric ID card, PhilID.
Authorities are also threatening sanctions against those who refuse to accept the cards as the only valid proof if ID document for public transactions.
According to a PSA press release, 10,092,022 Step 2 registrations have been done as of May 21. This phase of the registration process involves the capture of biometric information including iris and fingerprint scans as well as facial photographs at local registration centers.
Recently, the PSA revealed that distribution of thousands of the cards is underway. This new milestone of 10 million Step 2 registrations means that the distribution process is expected to be accelerated in partnership with the PHLPost, the official delivery partner, which is said to be already in possession of over 100,000 cards for distribution.
Rosalinda P. Bautista, Assistant Secretary and Deputy National Statistician of the PhilSys Registry Office of the PSA, hailed the progress made and said they were plans to intensify their efforts in the course of the year.
“We owe this milestone to the enthusiasm and support of our citizens to the PhilSys program and the hardwork of the PSA Field Offices in making sure that registration operations roll out smoothly and safely in their respective provinces. We assure everyone that all will have a chance to register, especially when we ramp up our operations by the latter half of the year,” said Bautista.
Step 2 registration kicked off in January in just a few Provinces on a small-scale basis due to health and safety concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic, but the biometrics enrollment process looks to be extended to all Provinces across the nation and will be conducted in strict compliance with guidelines prescribed by the Interagency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, the PSA press release mentions.
In line with PSAs financial inclusion policy, a partnership has been concluded between PhilSys and the Land Bank of the Philippines to enable those who have completed the Step 2 enrolment to easily open a bank account.
Online strategy to boost PhilSys registration
Citing figures of the PSA, Crowdfunding Insider reports that the online registration method has already drawn over 800,000 people who have signed up for Step 1.
The report indicates that more than 850,000 registrants are said to have gone through the primary step of the process by filling in an application form that requests for personal details such the registrant’s full name, gender, date, and place of birth, as well as their blood type, and home address.
The PSA was quoted as saying that with the online method, it will continue “to develop user-management strategies to improve the website and accommodate more registrants.”
The Authority had said earlier that the introduction of the online registration was to fast-track the entire digital ID registration process while addressing health and safety concerns around COVID-19.
Already, about 34 million people have completed this phase of the three-part process through physical registration.
Penalties for those not accepting PhilID cards
Meanwhile, as the number of Step 2 registrants for the PhilID grows, the PSA has been making a passionate call on government agencies and private businesses to accept the document as the only valid proof of ID.
The Philippine News Agency quotes the PSA as saying that anyone refusing to recognize the cards as such will be violating the PhilSys Act and would be liable to pay certain amounts of fine in line with Section 19 of the Republic Act 11055.
The report reminds that Section 12 of the PhilSys Act states that the PhilID is an official government-issued digital ID that can be used in transactions requiring proof of identity or proper identification, and can be used, among other purposes, to open a bank account, carry out money transfer and other financial transactions, apply for jobs, and to obtain government documents.
The PhilSys ID scheme is a project that seeks to establish a unique source of identification for all Filipinos and alien residents. It was kick-started in 2018 when a parliamentary Act was signed into law.
The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) has said in the past that it hopes to register at least 50 million Filipinos for the scheme by the end of 2021, and at least 100 million by mid-2022. The biometrics-backed cards will replace all existing ID documents, except the passport, driver’s license and the UMID card.