THE GOVERNMENT has already released P7.1 billion out of the P27.8 billion allotted for the national ID system, which is seen to aid low income families get easier access to financial services.

The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) received P2 billion when the project started in 2018 followed by budget allotments worth P2.1 billion, P3 billion, and P7.1 billion for 2018, 2019 and 2020, respectively, National Statistician Claire Dennis S. Mapa said in an online briefing on Friday.

“We’ve received so far P7.1 billion in total,” Mr. Mapa said in Filipino.

“For 2021, because we have a large target for registration, we were allotted with P4.1 billion budget. So including 2021, it will be about P11.2 billion,” Mr. Mapa added.

The first phase of the registration will start on Oct. 12, Monday, in identified low-risk coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) areas in the country. This year, the government aims to register at least five million heads of household into the Philippine Identification System or the national ID system.

“We have enough budget to begin the registration this year. We are waiting for additional budget which we have submitted so we can begin the preparation right now to continue the registration next year,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick T. Chua said on Friday.

The identified 32 priority areas for registration are 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 City, Negros Occidental, Bohol, Cebu City, Negros Oriental, Leyte, Compostela Valley, Davao del Sur, Davao del Norte, Davao Occidental and Tawi-Tawi.

Republic Act No. 11055 or the Philippine Identification System Act signed August 2018 provides for a single identification system for all citizens. This is seen to ease the know your customer process of banks as it can be used as the sole ID to open an account.

Mr. Mapa said their timeline for this year is to have five million low income families or nine million heads of these households join the first step of the registration process where they will be given an appointment slip to visit registration centers near their homes to complete the process.

The same will progress to the second part of registration which will include the gathering of biometric information such as fingerprints, iris scan, and photographs, Mr. Mapa said.

Officials said they will abide by safety protocols in handling the registration process. Despite the restrictions caused by the pandemic, they target to complete the registration and issuances of IDs by June 2022.

“We in the financial sector commit to provide an easier access for Filipinos to financial services using the Philsys,” Fintech Alliance Chairman Angelito “Lito” M. Villanueva said on Friday. — L.W.T. Noble