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PSA opts for competitive bidding for National ID system

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By Melissa Luz T. Lopez, Senior Reporter

THE government will pursue competitive bidding for the national ID system, with the pilot registration pushed back to next year.

National Statistician Lisa Grace S. Bersales said the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) has decided to pursue competitive bidding and did not accept the unsolicited proposal from a private consortium looking to implement the Philippine ID System (PhilSys).

“We have decided to do competitive bidding for the Philippine identification system… Furthermore, we find that if we do competitive bidding, we will be able to manage our timeline of procuring the system and awarding before the year ends,” Ms. Bersales told reporters on the sidelines of a press briefing on Friday.

Republic Act No. 11055 signed by President Rodrigo R. Duterte mandates the creation of a central identification platform for all citizens and resident foreigners in the Philippines, which will effectively do away with the need to claim and present various government-issued IDs for personal and financial transactions.

In August, conglomerates Ayala Corp. (AC) through AC Infrastructure Holdings Corp. and Aboitiz Equity Ventures, Inc. through Aboitiz InfraCapital, Inc. teamed up with information technology company Unisys Philippines to submit a 17-year unsolicited proposal to the PSA, to design and develop the infrastructure for the national ID.

The system will cost around P1.5 billion, which will be charged against a P2-billion budget for the project this year.

“Those who submitted unsolicited proposals to us can of course participate in the competitive bidding,” the PSA official added.

The PSA plans to open the procurement within October and eyes to award the contract by December.

In contrast, the PSA’s experience in acquiring the civil registry system showed that a public-private partnership could stretch the project timeline to over a year, she added. Unisys bagged the P1.59-billion contract for the second phase of this project in 2016.

BusinessWorld is yet to receive a response from the private players when sought for comment.

Also yesterday, the inter-agency PhilSys Policy and Coordination Council approved implementing rules on the PhilSys, paving the way for clearing guidelines as to how Filipinos can sign up for the national database.

Pressed for details, Ms. Bersales said the rules relax the seed document to be requested for Filipinos as well as holders of alien registration to sign up for a PhilID even without a birth certificate. Instead, an “introducer system” will be employed for those who do not have birth certificates, wherein an affidavit will be executed to establish a person’s identity.

Despite this, the PSA has pushed back its target pilot run for the PhilSys registration to March next year, later than their original goal to enroll one million Filipinos by December.

By September next year, the PSA is looking to get 25 million residents aboard every year until 2021. Poor residents, particularly those receiving cash transfers from the government, as well as senior citizens and persons with disabilities will be prioritized.

The PhilSys will collect the full name, sex, date and place of birth, blood type, address, and whether or not the person is a Filipino or resident alien. It will also capture one’s front-facing photo, full set of fingerprints, and an iris scan.

Once registered, residents will get a 12-digit PhilSys Number which should serve as their digital identity across multiple platforms.

The PSA official said they will also appeal for an additional P4.2-billion budget in 2019 to implement the PhilID, as they have only been allotted P2 billion under the national budget currently pending in Congress. The current allocation would allow the agency to register only 6 million residents, Ms. Bersales said.

The PSA has said the entire project will require P30 billion over a five-year period.