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Philippines distributes 16M biometric ID cards, downloadable version coming soon

Government expands SIM registration ID options
Philippines distributes 16M biometric ID cards, downloadable version coming soon

Officials of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) say 16.7 million biometric national digital ID cards dubbed PhilID have already been delivered to their owners, and they are hoping to reach the 50 million mark by the end of the year.

The number already distributed is from the total of 21.6 million cards which have already been printed and are ready for dispatch, reports ABS-CBN News, which also indicates that many Filipinos are said to be losing their patience over long the wait time for cards distribution.

The outlet quotes PSA Deputy National Statistician Fred Sollesta as announcing that the digital version of the IDs for download in PDF will be available soon. This could be either by the close of this year or during the first quarter of the next, the official added.

The reason for the reported impatience by applicants is probably the fact that only 21.6 million cards have been printed out of 73.8 million biometric enrollments already completed.

In apparent response to this, Sollesta is quoted by ABS-CBN News as explaining that “our registration was very fast but the backend process is not as fast considering the procurement process with stringent requirements.”

The delays have prompted the country’s Information and Communications Technology department to declare passports and driver’s licenses as allowable credentials for Filipinos registering their SIM cards, reports The Manila Times. An official said that while the inclusion of biometrics makes the national ID more secure, the registration period can only be extended for up to 120 days, necessitating the acceptance of other IDs.

The country’s three telecom providers recently declared themselves ready for the registration process.

In July, the country’s President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. called for accelerated printing and distribution of the PhilID so that more citizens can hold the credential before the start of next year.

The delays notwithstanding, the PSA says it is poised to distribute 92 million ID cards at least by the first half of 2023.

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