41 million Filipinos may have to wait until 2024 to get national ID cards
MANILA, Philippines — More than 41 million Filipinos may have to wait for at least another year before they could get hold of their national identification cards, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) told senators on Monday.
At the Senate budget deliberations, National Statistician Dennis Mapa, who is also civil registrar general and head of the PSA, disclosed that out of the 81 million Filipinos who had registered for the national ID system, only 39.7 million had received their plastic ID cards so far.
Sen. Juan Edgardo Angara, who presided over the hearing on the PSA’s budget request of P8.9 billion for 2024, said he himself was still waiting for his physical card two years after he signed up.
Angara said the delay in the printing process should prompt the PSA to consider using the digital version of the national IDs.
“[In other countries], their [national] IDs are already in their mobile phones,” Angara told Mapa.
Secretary Arsenio Balisacan of the National Economic and Development Authority, which has administrative supervision over the PSA, told Angara that the completion of the printing and delivery of physical IDs were the responsibility of the PSA.
Cause of delay
Asked by Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian about the delay, Mapa said it was caused by the failure of the private supplier of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to manufacture the IDs on time due to the surge in the number of registrants.
He added that the BSP’s contractor, AllCard Inc., could not keep up with the number of daily average registrants, which reached as high as 250,000 in 2021, since its capacity was only at 80,000 cards per day.
In the meantime, Mapa said those who had yet to receive their plastic cards were given a copy of their national IDs printed on paper, or e-PhilIDs (electronic Philippine Identification System).
“The BSP and their service provider presented a catch-up plan, wherein they will clear all the [target] 92 million [IDs] by September 2024,” Mapa said.
Gatchalian and Sen. Ronald dela Rosa both supported Angara’s suggestion for the PSA to push for the use of electronic copies of the national IDs.
“The physical cards are prone to quality issues. With the digital cards, you can rectify it digitally,” Gatchalian said.
Mapa, however, pointed out that not all Filipinos aged 15 and above have smartphones.
“And there are areas where we don’t have much [internet] connectivity,” he added.
Balisacan said the PSA had set aside P1.6 billion next year for the printing of national ID cards.