MANILA - The Philippine Statistics Authority said Friday it will start processing 9 million national identification cards by the end of the year in an effort to improve financial inclusion in the country, among others.
Registration kicks off on Oct.12 and will start in 32 provinces with the lowest COVID-19 incidence, the PSA send in a virtual press conference on Friday.
Nationwide registration rollout is scheduled in 2021, as it aims to give national IDs to 92 million Filipinos by 2022, it said.
House-to-house operations where PSA teams would visit and interview household demographic data will be the first step, while the second step involves biometric collection at registration centers in their respective areas, the agency said.
A PhilSys number will be issued to registrants after undergoing the 2 steps, the PSA said.
The national ID will provide each resident with a unique number, an ID card and store its personal data in the cloud. Having a national ID will provide Filipinos an easy access to the banking system and other services.
“We have been adaptive, we have already announced the start of the registration in step 1, we will proceed with caution with step 2 because that involves biometrics, we will be very careful. We will proceed as carefully as possible to get all of you registered," Acting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Chua said.
The National ID system or the Philippine Identification System (PhilSys) was signed into law in 2018.
At least P7.1 billion out of the total cost of the project, estimated to be at P27.8 billion, has been released to the PSA, National Statistician Usec. Claire Dennis Mapa said.
Mapa said the registration phase was the most costly process. However, splitting the registration process into two would not have additional costs but rather ensure safety of officers who are tasked to gather data during the pandemic.
“We believe this redesign of the process, adding step 1, is necessary to ensure the safety of the registrant and PSA. We feel this will not have an additional impact on the cost of PhilSys," Mapa said.
Some 5,000 supervisors and enumerators for step 1 and 9,000 personnel are needed for step 2, the PSA said.
The National Economic Development Authority earlier said the pandemic also highlighted the need to fully automate the country's data gathering and statistic system.
Chua said the national ID could also hasten the distribution of cash aid to the poorest families especially during a crisis.
-- with a report from Warren de Guzman, ABS-CBN News