By Cai Ordinario, April 24 2019; Business Mirror

Image Credit to Business Mirror

The implementation of the Philippine Identification System (PhilSys),  or the national ID system, remains on track, according to the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda).

Neda Undersecretary for Planning and Policy Rosemarie G. Edillon told the BusinessMirror that the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), an attached agency of the Neda, aims to complete the first of five procurements for the National ID by July.

This will allow the PSA to start the registration process by September this year, which is within the government’s target. The first Filipinos to be registered are those receiving cash transfers from the government.

“So far, we are on track. There are five procurements that will have to be done,” Edillon said. “We’re hoping for [the] delivery [of the registration kits] by July or August because we want to launch in September,” Edillon added.

She explained that the first procurement will be for the registration kits, which will be used for facial recognition, fingerprinting and iris scans.

The second procurement is for the ABIS, or Automated Biometric Identification System, for fingerprint recognition, while the third procurement will be for the registration centers.

Edillon said these registration centers would be situated in various parts of the country, complemented by mobile registrations available in public buildings such as barangay halls.

“The setting up part [of the registration centers] will be the one that will be procured. This is the part where we want [the] PSA [to] have a more detailed specification, let’s say will they require Internet signal, for instance, in that area,” Edillon said.

An Internet signal, she added, is crucial for the PhilSys because the registration will be beamed to the PSA database in real time. This will prevent the data from being stored temporarily in unsecure locations.

The fourth procurement will be for a systems integrator, which will be a firm who will design all the systems, and ensure that the data captured from Filipinos will be brought directly to an archive without any duplication. This is also a highly technical function that the PSA does not have at its disposal at the moment.

“We are looking at open source platform,” said Edillon.

“We don’t want a vendor lock in…we’ve learned from the lessons of the DFA [Department of Foreign Affairs] passport [where there was a reported]…vendor lock in, and afterward, when we wanted to upgrade to a different system, it became unreadable and we could not get the data. We want the Philippine government to own the [the National ID System] data,” she stressed.

The last procurement will be for card printing. Edillon said the PSA will enter into a memorandum of agreement with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) for them to produce the card material, while the PSA provides the design and information that will be placed on the card.

Edillon said once registered, those who have been given their PhilSys numbers will not receive their cards right away. The data would still have to go through a process of “deduplication” using PSA records before cards are released by January 2020.

The process of deduplication will involve verifying whether there are no duplications in the names and the other information obtained during registration.

The PhilSys provides for a national identification system that seeks to unify all government IDs into one. It will provide identification to both citizens and resident aliens of the country to facilitate public and private transactions.

The Neda said despite the numerous IDs issued by the Philippine government, 14 percent of Filipinos are still denied of government and financial services due to lack of proper identification documents.

The PhilSys Act was signed into law last August 6, 2018, an historic accomplishment of the Legislative Agenda under Chapter 5 of the Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022, titled, Ensuring People-Centered, Clean, and Efficient Governance.