MANILA (UPDATE) - President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday signed a national ID system for citizens and resident aliens of the Philippines, as he sought to allay fears that privacy would be violated.
The Philippine System Identification Act (PhilSys Act) mandates the government to create a single official identification card for all citizens and foreign residents that would serve as a de facto national identification number.
Duterte said the PhilSys Act will pave the way for efficient services delivery, will enhance administrative governance, reduce corruption, curtail bureaucratic red tape, promote ease of doing business, and strengthen financial inclusion.
The President also assured the public that government will protect the data in the PhilSys database, amid concerns of possible data breach and privacy violations.
He noted that the information contained in the PhilSys can also be found in the databases of government organizations such as the Philippine Statistics Office, PhilHealth, Pag-IBIG Fund, and the Commission on Elections.
“That fear is based on anything that borders to illegal. If at all, the Philippine ID will even aid in our drive against the social menaces of poverty, corruption, and criminal issues as well as terrorism and violent extremism,” Duterte said in his speech during the ceremonial signing of the law.
The national ID shall contain a person’s Philippine Identification System number, full name, gender, blood type, date of birth, place of birth, marital status, address, and a front facing photo.
Prior to the signing of the PhilSys Act, the Philippines had been one of the few countries in the world which had no national ID system.
Previous administrations attempted to establish a national ID system but these efforts were met with strong opposition.
The PSA will be the implementing agency of the measure.
National Statistician and Civil Registrar General Lisa Grace Bersales said in the months after the signing of the law, the PSA will be conducting a pilot implementation of the system in selected regions.
The pilot test aims to lay down the registration process prior to the full 5-year implementation starting 2019, Bersales said.