3 years after law enacted, 4,400 national IDs up for delivery
MANILA, Philippines—Almost three years since President Rodrigo Duterte signed the Philippine Identification System Act into law in August 2018, over 4,400 national IDs are now being distributed nationwide to individuals, mostly from poor households, who needed identification to get government aid and to open bank accounts.
National Statistician Dennis Mapa told the Inquirer that from an initial 956 so-called Philippine IDs (PhilIDs) picked up by the state-run Philippine Postal Corp. (PhilPost) from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) last May 1, the number of IDs currently being delivered reached 4,416 as of Tuesday (May 4).
As the Philippine Identification System’s (PhilSys) official delivery partner, PhilPost had been tasked with bringing PhilIDs printed by the BSP to those who finished the first two steps of registration.
In a statement, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said that the initial IDs had been packed in a regular-sized envelope with a letter that contained both the physical card and PhilSys Number (PSN).
“Registrants are advised to safekeep the letter, and use the PhilSys Card Number (PCN) found in the PhilID when transacting,” the PSA said.
Mapa said deliveries were ongoing in the provinces of Albay, Bohol, Bulacan, Capiz, Cavite, Cebu, Ilocos Sur, Iloilo, La Union, Negros Oriental, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga and Rizal and the cities of Bacolod and Davao.
Mapa said the PSA was “increasing the daily output…PSA personnel are working round-the-clock, in three shifts, at the card personalization area inside the BSP’s East Avenue complex.”
“We are pleased to have commenced this major milestone in the implementation of the PhilSys,” Mapa said.
“This exercise showed us what can be improved in our card production and personalization machines and processes,” Mapa said.
“Our next step is to ensure that the machines are running in good condition for us to determine the volume of the next batch of PhilIDs to be produced, personalized, and delivered,” Mapa said.
Mapa said Vice President Leni Robredo also completed her registration for the national ID last Monday (May 3) at a PhilSys registration center in Magarao town, Camarines Sur province.
Issuance of the PSN and the physical card was the third and final step in securing a national ID.
The PhilSys registration process had been spread out in three steps to ensure social distancing and observance of COVID-19 protocols.
The first step involved collection of demographic data like full name, gender, date and place of birth, blood type, permanent and current address, as well as citizenship.
This was was conducted house-to-house starting October 2020 in 32 pilot provinces where there had been fewer COVID-19 cases but more poorer households.
The government prioritized heads of poor families for PhilSys so that their national IDs will later on serve as a valid proof of identity whenever there’s a need to distribute aid—a stable and systematic process which the Philippines lacked when dole outs were given at the height of the COVID-19 lockdown in 2020.
Since early 2021, the PSA expanded step one to Metro Manila and other provinces and offered online registration. It proceeded with step two—collection of biometrics information composed of a front-facing photograph, fingerprints and iris scan, plus validation—among those who have finished the first step.
Last Friday (April 30), the PSA opened online registration for PhilSys, but the dedicated portal http://register.philsys.gov.ph/ crashed as a result of a surge in applications.
Last week, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and PSA Board chair Karl Kendrick Chua said that over 30.7 million step one registrations were completed as of April 17, while 4.4 million already finished step two.
Among President Rodrigo Duterte’s marching orders to Chua when he replaced the resigned Ernesto Pernia as head of the state planning agency National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) in April 2020 was to fast-track rolling out the national ID system.
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