Amid concerns regarding governmental overreach and breaches in personal privacy, a Republic Act signed into law in 2018 has mandated the creation of a mandatory national ID. Called the Philippine Identification System (PhilSys), this ID will be uniquely issued to all Filipino citizens and resident aliens for identification purposes, containing the bearer’s non-transferrable citizen number and biometrics alongside particulars already seen in other IDs. Registration for the PhilSys ID already began with pre-registration demographic data gathering from January 18, 2020 until the end of next month. Despite worries that some people will not bother, the regional Philippine Statistics Authority in Region 12 is confident in a high registration turnout there.
The Philippine News Agency would have it that preliminary data gathering done by the PSA-XII office in SOCCSKSARGEN has so far been getting a positive reception. In a statement this past Monday, February 15, PSA-XII director Maqtahar Monulon expressed encouragement at how some respondents of the PhilSys pre-registration data gathering, especially among the “poorest of the poor” families, would indicate that in SOCCSKSARGEN, residents would like to have a PhilSys national ID. In fact, several respondents have volunteered to register when the system kicks off.
As Atty. Manulon puts it, “With this development that the concerned people are coming in voluntarily to register, we’re projecting to have a higher turnout over our current target.” It is no idle proclamation. PSA-XII notes that their pre-registration enlistment is about 190,889 heads of household. Their target in the region is 695,520 household heads total, and the previous figure is already 27.4 percent of that target figure. About the one significant challenge faced in the PhilSys ID pre-registration is blatant misinformation dissemination among SOCCSKSARGEN residents, some of which have reached Biblical levels. One anti-PhilSys complaint is that the national ID is the feared “Mark of the Beast” referred to in the Book of Revelation.
Strictly speaking, the uses of the PhilSys national ID include sufficient identification for public and private transactions, such as to register for (postpaid) mobile phone lines, enrolling in schools and opening of bank accounts, even for poor ID holders. It will also provide discounts at shops and stores if the bearer is a senior citizen. Furthermore, PhilSys IDs are to be issued free of charge. Due to the COVID pandemic, the rollout timetable for this national ID has been delayed.
Image courtesy of PhilSysID.com