Senators think it’s more efficient for gov’t to issue ePhilIDs
MANILA, Philippines — At least two senators are suggesting that the government instead focus on distributing digital Philippine Identification Cards (PhilIDs) as challenges remain for the production of physical identification cards.
Senators Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa and Sherwin Gatchalian said at the hearing of the Senate committee on finance that scrapping the issuance of physical PhilIDs and going digital presents a practical solution to the problem.
“[K]ung hirap tayong mag produce ng hard copy tulad ng sabi ninyo ay 31 percent pa lang ang nadeliveran ninyo dahil sa printing problems or whatever, siguro pwede nating i-stop ‘yun. Then we’ll go digital,” dela Rosa said on Monday.
(If it’s difficult for us to produce hard copy like you said you only delivered 31 percent because of printing problems or whatever, maybe we can stop that. Then we’ll go digital.)
Dela Rosa furthermore pointed out that the government may even be able to save money if the distribution of physical PhilIDs is stopped.
Gatchalian supported dela Rosa’s recommendation, even commenting that physical cards are prone to quality issues while a digital version can be readily “rectified” if information errors are found.
He likewise said that going digital “saves the government a lot of time” and “saves the government from logistics issues.”
Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) National Statistician Claire Dennis Mapa acknowledged that going digital is undoubtedly “the way to go.” However, he pointed out that not all Filipinos have smartphones.
“If you look at statistics, not all Filipinos aged 15 and above have smartphones. [In the Philippines], at least one household has a smartphone, but not per member. There are also areas where we don’t have much connectivity. These are areas [where] we are doing some priority deliveries because they need physical cards,” Mapa explained in a mix of English and Filipino.
Data presented during the hearing showed that at least 40.8 million digital PhilIDs or ePhilIDs have already been delivered as of September 8. According to Mapa, they are eyeing to replace all these with physical copies and “clear everything” by September 2024.
Monday’s hearing of the Senate committee on finance tackled the proposed P12.21 billion budget of the National Economic and Development Authority and its attached agencies such as the PSA, which is tasked to oversee the implementation of the Philippine Identification System ID, or simply the national ID.