By Christine Cudis, September 27, 2021; Philippine News Agency

Manila – The Philippine Identification System (PhilSys) will be used to identify and verify beneficiaries of assistance programs, such as the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program and Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation.

The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) announced on Monday the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement for the pilot test of PhilSys in social welfare programs.

Over the next three years, there will also be a gradual integration of PhilSys API (Application Programming Interface)-enabled services into all DSWD programs.

PhilSys API services include the Electronic Know Your Client (E-KYC) which can only be used online through authentication and sharing of pre-defined data attributes.

The partnership makes DSWD the first national government agency to adopt PhilSys for authentication of its beneficiaries.

DSWD Secretary Rolando Joselito Bautista said the agency strives to achieve seamless service delivery in order to improve the efficiency and transparency of its social protection programs.

“It is also a step towards financial inclusion for our beneficiaries and clients. The Philsys ID, as a valid proof of identity, is easily accessible to everyone. It opens a lot of opportunities for the unbanked poor and vulnerable sectors particularly on easier registration with the bank and other financial institutions of their choice, therefore expanding their access to social and financial services,” Bautista said in a statement.

PSA National Statistician and Civil Registrar General Dennis Mapa said the breakthrough partnership with DSWD strengthens financial inclusivity for public services as it will allow PhilSys to achieve one of its goals: Quick delivery of public services.

“As the PhilSys continues to expand its implementation, may this partnership encourage other government agencies and private institutions to work hand-in-hand with the PSA to cater the public with easier access to other various private and public services,” Mapa added in another statement.

Among the benefits of the PhilSys adoption are digitized and streamlined registration of DSWD beneficiaries; establishment of a United Beneficiary Database; identification and removal of duplicate or ghost beneficiaries; and financial inclusion and digital payments.

DSWD said through the Philippine Identification (PhilID) card, beneficiaries can enroll in future programs while the agency can identify beneficiary records by using PhilSys Number.

“DSWD will provide benefits more quickly to intended beneficiaries while preventing fraud and leakages. This also means that DSWD will be better prepared for future responses to crises and natural disasters. At the same time, program beneficiaries will find social assistance services much more accessible with a streamlined process,” Bautista said.

Signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte in August 2018, Republic Act 11055, or the PhilSys Act, aims to establish a single national ID for Filipinos and resident aliens.

The national ID shall be a valid proof of identity and a means of simplifying public and private transactions, enrollment in schools, and opening of bank accounts.

It will also boost efficiency, especially in dealing with government services where people will only need to present one ID during transactions.

The Philsys Act states that whoever denies acceptance of the PhilID as an identification document shall be fined PHP500,000.

If the violation is committed by a government official or employee, the penalty will include perpetual absolute disqualification from holding any public office or employment in the government, including in government-owned and controlled corporations and their subsidiaries.