The Philippine Statistics Authority is looking for private sector partners to expand the applications of the country’s new national ID system, in which digital capabilities figure prominently.
It’s all part of a longstanding national identity project called PhilSys – or the “Philippine Identification System”. Since 2018, government authorities in the country have been working to register the biometric data of the country’s residents for a new ID project that would tie their face, fingerprint, and iris data to profiles in a national database.
Last year, the PSA encountered distribution issues in a related effort to issue new ‘PhilID’ cards to registered filipinos, resulting in a pivot to the issuance of virtual ID cards that could be stored on mobile devices and used as proof of identity. Shortly thereafter, the country’s newly elected president, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., asked National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Director-General and Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan to work to accelerate the PhilSys registration process.
Now, over 29 million PhilIDs have been printed and more than 15.5 million ePhilIDs have been issued. And the government is looking to accelerate the latter wing of the project, with Civil Registrar General Dennis Mapa asserting in a statement that government authorities “are eager to collaborate with the private sector to further accelerate our progress in expanding our use cases.”
One such use case would be to establish a digital KYC service that lets PhilSys registrants confirm their identity to relying parties such as banks or remittance centers via the PhilSys database.
“We want our registrants to immediately reap and enjoy the benefits of PhilSys as a digital ID system,” Mapa explained, adding later that “PhilSys is a foundational, digital ID system, so its functionality is geared toward digital use”. The aim, he suggested, is to deliver “an inclusive national ID system that can be used across government agencies and private entities for more efficient delivery of services for Filipinos.”