By Samuel Medenilla, May 5, 2021; Business Mirror

Less than 20 percent of the 33.4 million people, who were already registered by Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), are close to getting their National ID.

As of May 3, 2021, the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) said only 6.4 million of the individuals moved to the second step of their registration process, wherein they would have their biometrics data taken.

The collected data from the said individuals will be stored in the PSA’s Philippine Identification System (PhilSys).

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua attributed the slow pace of the implementation of the second phase of their registration process to restrictions to mass gathering due to the novel coronavirus disease pandemic.

“The implementation of the second phase is slower since we cannot require them to go to registration center. We must be cautious so we will not spread the virus,” Chua said during the public address of President Duterte late Monday evening.

On a positive note, Chua noted that of the 6.4 million people, who have already completed the second phase of their registration, 2.2 million were finally able to open bank accounts with the Land Bank of the Philippines.

He noted such “financial inclusion” to more Filipinos is one of the main objectives of the National ID system.

“Land Bank is co-locating in all the PhilSys registration sites with the goal of opening a bank account for all low-income Filipinos by the end of 2021,” Chua said.

“We want all families to have at least one bank account before the end of the year. This is what we meant when we say 100 percent financial inclusion by family,” he added.

Chua said the National ID also aims to help with the ongoing vaccine deployment of the government, as well as the distribution of social amelioration.

President Duterte lauded Chua for pushing through with the implementation of the National ID system despite challenges posed by the pandemic.