PSA eyes issuing unique PhilSys number to registrants by first quarter of 2023

Job Manahan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 24 2022 12:40 PM

Government employees process their biometric information including fingerprint, iris scan, and photograph as they register for the Philippine Identification System (PhilSys) at the Universidad De Manila on May 24, 2021. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News
Government employees process their biometric information including fingerprint, iris scan, and photograph as they register for the Philippine Identification System (PhilSys) at the Universidad De Manila on May 24, 2021. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) is eyeing to issue a unique Philippine Identification System (PhilSys) number to all registrants by the first quarter of 2023, an official said on Thursday. 

PhilSys registration officer-in-charge Engineer Fred Sollesta said 71.1 million Filipinos have already registered for the national ID, with 25 million physical cards already issued. 

This leaves the agency with some 50 million physical cards in backlog, but they are addressing this by providing registrants with an ePhilID (electronic Philippine ID), a printed digital ID with security features. 

With the ePhilID, "registered persons can immediately utilize the benefits of PhilSys, such as faster and seamless transactions in accessing financial and social protection services," its website read.

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Sollesta said as of Wednesday, they already issued 3.6 million ePhilIDs pending the release of the physical national ID. They target to generate a total of 20 million by next month, which they aim to make downloadable.

"[It] has the same functionality sa ating physical card na piniprint... may mga security features din siya," said Sollesta in a televised briefing. 

(It also has security features.)

"Dinagdagan namin ang features ng ePhilID, may photo siya sa loob ng QR code, hindi dapat mag-worry ang ating mga kababayan dahil secured na secured ang ating ePhilID," he added. 

(We added some features for the ePhilID. It contains a photo inside the QR code so our fellow Pinoys should not worry because this is secured.)

Pressed why the agency is faced with backlogs considering that pre-registration started in 2020, the official said the system was "choked" with millions of registrants. 

"Supposedly ang target lang ng PSA is around 20 to 25 million eh pero mandate ng administration during the time, ni [former] Presidente Duterte, na by the end of his term dapat 70 million ang nireregister," he said. 

(The target is only around 20 to 25 million but the mandate of the previous administration is 70 million by the end of his term.)

"Ngayon, in a way, masasabi natin na nabubulunan 'yung system natin kasi naka-set up na 'yung ating IT infrastructure including 'yung card-printing facility so pero ngayon humahabol kami kasi mas malaki ang production sa BSP side," he added. 

(We can say that our system choked because our IT infrastructure is already set up, including the card-printing facility. But now we are catching up because the production in the BSP side is bigger.)

"By first quarter of 2023, we are certain we can wipe out that backlog na lahat ng nagaprehistro ay may unique PhilSys number na, pwede natin unahin as an option sa ating mga kababayan... to issue the e-Phil ID and ultimately we can issue the physical card."

Officials said last month that the Philippine national ID will also soon be available for download on mobile phones as the public wait for the delivery of their physical ID.