Philippines wants to issue more digital IDs than cards as President takes active interest
The Philippines government says it will henceforth focus more on issuing the digital version of the PhilID, while physical cards are distributed later, according to a press release from the office of the President.
This is a change of strategy, the Secretary of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Arsenio Balisacan explained at a recent press briefing, saying the reason is to enable people with smartphones use a digital ID to access service, even before they lay hands on their printed cards.
The development comes as President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. has called for the digital ID system to be centralized so that it can connect all government agencies, thereby facilitating service delivery. The release says the president is also closely monitoring the implementation of the project, which he has highlighted the importance of in the past.
According to Balisacan, the Department of Information and Communication technology (DICT) will henceforth oversee the issuance of the digital IDs, while the competence for producing and distributing physical PhilID cards stays with the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).
The official also gave assurances that the government has already produced more than half the number of PhilIDs applied for, saying it will save a lot of resources when the project shall be completed. The PSA is looking forward to printing 50 million ID cards before the year runs out.
The move for the DICT to issue digital versions of the PhilID is a recommendation of the Department of Justice (DOJ) to President Marcos Jr. in May, according to Business Mirror, which mentions that NEDA and DICT are hoping to have all digital versions of the ID available before the end of the year.
The digital version of the PhilID was not a priority from the beginning, but the NEDA boss says digital ID is becoming increasingly important, as was seen during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.