PSA eyes early roll-out of national ID registration; increases target from 5M to 10M

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MANILA—The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said Monday it has to conduct the pre-online registration for the National Identification System much earlier instead of July 2020 as originally set because of the relevance of getting accurate data during emergencies like the Covid-19 pandemic.

PSA Assistant Secretary Loudiner Dela Cruz, national deputy statistician said their Information Technology personnel are given exemption on the restrictions of the ongoing enhanced community quarantine by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease so that they can start the roll-out of the National ID registration in preparation for the massive registration in October 2020.

“Pupunta ang mga IT namin sa mga barangay para gagawin ang pre-online registration. Tulad ito sa pagkuha ng passport na kailangan munang kukunin sa aplikante ang kanilang demographic data na ilagay sa aming system at saka na ang biometric nila,” sabi ni ASec. Dela Cruz.

The need for a coherent and reliable National ID System was underscored due to the gaps in the distribution of the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) with the help of local government units (LGUs) to cushion the effects of the pandemic in the country.  

It was found out that the delay in the distribution was partly due to the unreliable data of residents in the barangays.  So far, only Php 100-billion of the Php 275-billion budget for the SAP had been distributed and many LGUs had yet to liquidate the money that were coursed through them.  

“The National ID System Law was passed in 2018 as well as its Implementing Rules and Regulations and the timeline for the roll-out was scheduled in July 2020. But because of the Covid-19 disease, there was a general clamor to speed up the process,” he said.

He also said the PSA has already acquired the needed hardware for the registration from its 2018 and 2019 budget.  The process involves getting both the demographic data and biometrics of the registrants.  

The ten fingers of the hands and the iris of the eyes will be scanned and stored in the database at the PSA.  “The main purpose of the ID system is to authenticate the identity of the holder of the card because it has both the demographic and biometric date in it,” he said. 

“We have already conducted some pilot registrations before involving some DSWD beneficiaries, members of the house of representatives, and officers and staff of oversite committee members of the National ID System” ASec. Dela Cruz further said.

He continued that due to the exigency of having an ID registration, which will be done in tandem with the 2020 National Census, the PSA planned to increase its target for the first year from five million to 10 million. 

“Our first priority for the registration are the poorest of the poor.  We have a budget allocation of Php 3-billion for this but it will need additional fund because of the increase in the number of target registrants,” ASec. Dela Cruz concluded.

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