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Biometric capture for PhilID partially suspended

4M new bank account openings in the Philippines
Biometric capture for PhilID partially suspended

Authorities of the Philippines Statistics Authority (PSA) have temporarily put on hold the biometric capture of registrants for the national ID (PhilID card) in the metropolitan area of the capital Manila, citing new COVID-19 quarantine rules in the country.

This development comes as 100,000 residents of the Negros Oriental Province have been issued bank cards by the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) after completing the registration process for PhilSys, the biometric national ID system. More than four million people have opened accounts since registering for their digital ID.

The Commission on Elections (Comelec), on the other hand, says it will be attending to the concerns of potential voters overseas using virtual or electronic methods ahead of the May 2022 polls.

Step 2 registration suspended in National Capital Region

The Phillipine News Agency (PNA) writes that the biometric capture process has been suspended in all PhilSys centres of the National Capital Region because of the reintroduction of enhanced community quarantine rules scheduled to last from August 6-20.

The report cites an advisory issued by the PSA as saying the move, which is line with the recommendations of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases rules, is taken for the health and safety of citizens.

All those who had already booked biometric capture appointments have been advised to reschedule them online and then wait for further communication from the PSA.

So far, more than 16 million people have completed the biometric capture stage of the PhilSys registration process which qualifies them for the issuance of the PhilID card.

Over 100K Negros Oriental residents get bank cards

In another report, the PNA discloses that as of July 1, a total of 111,030 persons had received bank cards from the state-run LBP in the province of Negros Oriental, with most of them being low-income earners.

The card holders, PNA notes, are those who have competed the PhilSys registration process, and will be using the cards to access certain basic banking and financial services as well as government aid.

The distribution of these cards is within the framework of the partnership between the LBP and the PSA which seeks to enable unbanked Filipinos who register for the PhilID to open bank accounts.

“At least the low-income people now have a Land Bank Mastercard prepaid card that can be used in the future for government transactions, such as subsidies,” the PSA cited Ariel Fortuito, PSA Negros Oriental provincial head, as saying.

Over four million hitherto unbanked Filipinos now have bank accounts with the LBP following completion of their PhilSys registration.

Overseas voters can access services remotely

The Philippines Office for Overseas Voting (OFOV) has been told by Comelec to process transactions concerning overseas voters ahead of the 2022 elections given certain practical difficulties triggered by the pandemic, ABS-CBN News states.

A Comelec resolution, cited by report, outlines the nature of activities and transactions which fall within the purview of this new directive.

According to the report, these activities include certification as an overseas voter for overseas Filipinos with existing voter registration records and complete biometric data in the Comelec database; reinstatement of names inadvertently omitted; correction of entries for civil status information; request for cancellation of overseas voter’s registration record (OVRR); reactivation of deactivated OVRR as allowed by a competent court or any competent authority, and reactivation following failure to vote in the previous two consecutive national elections.

However, the Comelec resolution, per ABS-CBN News, also sets out some exceptions to the rule, which means that in-person presence is required for certain transactions.

These include when the applicant is registering as a first-time overseas voter with no existing voter registration record anywhere in the Philippines; for validation or recapturing of biometric data for registered overseas voters whose biometrics have not yet been taken and correcting entries which have to do with change of signature, as well as recapturing of biometrics in cases when data is missing from their OVRRs.

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