DICT assures Nat’l ID will address identity issues

National, News

MANILA – Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT) Undersecretary Denis F. Villorente said identity-related exclusions and inequality can shortly be addressed with the establishment of a single national identification (ID) for every Filipino,

In a recent virtual briefing, Villorente cited the need to create a functional ID system which offers digital authentications services that dismiss its dependence on paper-based and manual processes to verify one’s identity.

He said some countries have improved their financial inclusion and other government services after constituting their own national ID systems.

Villorente said the banking system in India jumped from 35% in 2011 to 80% gains in 2017 after adopting the  Aadhaar — the Indian national identity system.

He also noted similar improvements in the government services of Pakistan, Thailand, and Estonia with the implementation of a national ID system.

In the Philippines, he said, the current identification landscape “has not just created exclusions but also exacerbated inequality.”

“We find that one in five of the poorest 40% of Filipinos have been unable to apply for government services because they lack the required identity document. One in six of the poorest 40% of Filipinos have been unable to receive government financial support because they lack the required identity document,” he added.

Villorente lamented the country’s inability to address various challenges in delivering social services without a functional ID system, noting that both national government agencies and local government units have to depend on paper forms, manual registration processes, and post-payment validation.

The coronavirus pandemic, he said, exposed the inefficiency in the delivery of social services and relief assistance without a functional ID system.

“This has led for instance, to at least 1.1 million duplicates being identified by DSWD in the recent Social Amelioration Program reliefs that covered 18 million Filipinos,” Villorente said, stressing that the national ID system seeks to address issues on legal identity.

President Rodrigo Duterte in August 2018 signed into law Republic Act No. 11055 or the Philippine Identification System (PhilSys) Act, which aims to establish a single national ID for all Filipinos and resident aliens.

The national ID shall be a valid proof of identity that and is seen to pave the way for the simplification of public and private transactions.

Villorente said PhilSys could lead the country to more efficient paperless transactions through online. “The PhilSys is a foundational platform that we can use to unlock many types of transactions that are necessary for digital ecosystems and societies,” he added.

Filipinos who will register for PhilSys will be provided with a personal serial number (PSN) that they can use in identity authentication.

The PhilSys number will be the primary credential of citizens. The 12-digit PSN, however, will not be printed on the physical ID card for security purposes. The issued PhilID card number is the one that will be printed on the card, Villorente explained.

“So, the credential that will be issued (to citizens) will be the PhilID Card. On that card, will be printed the PhilID Card Number and this is a sixteen-digit number. It will be a token based on the PhilSys number that will be in the card itself. And this can be used by our citizens to identify themselves, ” he said.

Villorente said the PhilSys number will be secured via digitized system. It will be issued based on someone’s biometric to avoid identity duplication. The PhilSys number will provide an authentication service for reliable and secured verification of legal identity. “This can be done both either online or offline,” he said.

Villorente said someone’s second credential can be issued through the use of PhilSys mobile application, where citizens can transact using the PhilSys portal.

“Through these facilities, they can generate a sixteen-digit temporary token and this can be used for specific transactions,” he explained.

He said the offline method involves combined usage of a PhilID card and a mobile app where the reliant party can compare someone’s photo on the card to verify the digitally signed demographic data stored in the QR code, which is printed on the PhilID card.

“Using their PhilSys number or the PhilSys card number or the alias PSN that’s generated by the citizen for a specific transaction and providing either a facial image or  fingerprint or iris scan or by providing a one-time password that he sent through SMS, this can be matched online against the PhilSys registry to authenticate his identity,” Villorente added.

With the unique number and the PSN issued to citizens, Villorente said the DSWD can create unified beneficiary databases they can use for delivering social services and other special programs.

“Beneficiaries can be identified and you can reduce for instance, duplication of benefits as well as identify unserved beneficiaries. And through this, you can do a one-to-one authentication to enable the delivery of benefits to citizens,” he said.

The Philippine Statistics Authority on Monday rolled out the first phase of mass registration for Philsys in a bid to provide “legal identity” to all Filipinos and resident aliens. The initial registration targets at least 5 million low-income household heads this year, the selection criterion of which is based on the bottom 40% of the population from the 2018 Family Income and Expenditure Survey (FIES) data.

The PSA has started collecting demographic data from targeted low-income Filipinos in 664 cities and municipalities in 32 provinces identified as “low-risk” areas for Covid-19 infections. They include Ilocos Sur, La Union, Pangasinan, Cagayan, Isabela, Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Tarlac, Zambales, Batangas, Cavite, Laguna, Quezon, Rizal, Albay, Camarines Sur, Masbate, Antique, Capiz, Iloilo, Negros Occidental, Bohol, Cebu, Negros Oriental, Leyte, Compostela Valley, Davao Del Norte, Davao Del Sur, Davao Occidental, and Tawi-Tawi.

The PhilSys is expected to speed up transactions in both public and private sectors, enrollment in schools, and the opening of bank accounts.

It will boost efficiency especially in dealing with government services where people will only need to present one ID during transactions.

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