THE GOVERNMENT has finished collecting demographic data from 37.2 million Filipinos for the national ID, close to its 50 million to 70 million target by end-2021, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said. 

The latest figure represents Filipinos who are done with the first step of the process for the Philippine Identification System (PhilSys) as of July 2, NEDA said in a statement.  

Meanwhile, 16.2 million Filipinos have finished the second step or biometrics capture, while 343,742 have already received their national ID cards.  

The Philippine Statistics Authority expects to register majority of the population to the PhilSys by 2022. 

“This [national ID] will help the government efficiently identify beneficiaries for social protection programs and spark the widespread use of electronic payments to accelerate the digital economy,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick T. Chua said in a statement. 

PhilSys was mandated by Republic Act 1105 which was signed in 2018. It grants Filipinos a national ID, which will serve as a single identification system for all citizens, doing away with the need to present multiple government-issued IDs.  

The national ID is also seen helping bring more Filipinos into the financial system as 51.2 million adults remained unbanked as of 2019, based on a study by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), with many citing the lack of documentary requirements as a hurdle to opening accounts with banks. 

The BSP in June released Memorandum No. M-2021-035 which told banks to accept the national ID as a sole proof of identity for those who want to open accounts. 

Mr. Chua said they want to “achieve 100% financial inclusion at the family level by the end of the year” through the national ID.  

PhilSys has partnered with the Landbank of the Philippines to allow registrants to open bank accounts in registration centers. Some 4.4 million registrants had applied for accounts with the state-run bank as of July 2. — L.W.T. Noble