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National ID to help financial inclusion of poorest sector

Louise Maureen Simeon - The Philippine Star
National ID to help financial inclusion of poorest sector
In a recorded video message played at the virtual ceremony to launch the PhilSys yesterday, President Rodrigo Duterte asked for support as the government pursues the long-overdue project.
Philstar.com / Graphics by John Nicole Villamayor

MANILA, Philippines — The poorest sector, especially those with no access to banking services, will benefit from the Philippine Identification System (PhilSys), so President Duterte is urging every Filipino to sign up for the national ID.

In a recorded video message played at the virtual ceremony to launch the PhilSys yesterday, Duterte asked for support as the government pursues the long-overdue project.

“I ask every Filipino to give PhilSys a chance so that we may maximize the advantages of a universal and secure database that will make transactions more efficient and our lives more convenient,” he said.

The President himself got his national ID earlier this month as more than 20 million Filipinos have pre-registered for Step 1 of the national ID process.

The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said its operation to register Filipinos remains on track despite limitations due to the pandemic.

It emphasized that the continued roll- out of the national ID will help address financial inclusion, especially among the country’s low-income households whose members have no access to banking services.

National statistician Dennis Mapa said PhilSys will change how public and private services are delivered to Filipinos as the government pushes for a digital economy.

In particular, low-income households were prioritized during the start of registration in October 2020 as part of the aim of the the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

“We found out that 80 percent of our low-income registrants have no bank account. And they are having a hard time accessing bank services because of lack of IDs,” Mapa said.

PhilSys aims to provide Filipinos easier access to financial, social protection, health, education and other government services. It will also establish a single national ID system for Filipino citizens and resident aliens.

In his speech, Duterte guaranteed privacy of personal information. “Let me assure everyone… apart from its primary purpose of providing a resilient digital identification system for all Filipinos, PhilSys will also uphold the privacy of all personal information,” he said.

The President also stressed the need for everyone to practice minimum health protocols once they go out and register for their IDs.

“Allow me to stress, however, that as we go through the entire registration process, we must continue to observe health protocols to ensure our safety amidst COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Benjamin Diokno, for his part, said PhilSys will play an important role in implementing the BSP digitalization agenda for the Digital Payments Transformation Roadmap 2020 to 2023.

The government is targeting to register at least 70 million Filipinos this year. To date, a total of 20.133 million Filipinos have completed the first step of registration for the national ID system.

The PSA started the pre-registration in October last year in 32 provinces that are low-risk areas for COVID-19.

The house-to-house registration will be finished by the end of the month. PSA will then open the step one registration to the public.

By end-2022, 92 million Filipinos are targeted to be registered with PhilSys. – Christina Mendez

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