By Cai Ordinario, October 12, 2020; Business Mirror

The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) aims to preregister 9 million household heads by December to jumpstart the implementation of the National ID.

National Statistician and Civil Registrar General Claire Dennis S. Mapa said this preregistration stage or the “Step 1” of the National ID process will involve capturing the demographic information of these Filipinos and logging in to the appointment system for “Step 2” of the process.

Initially, the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) aimed to register 5 million families in the PhilSys. Mapa told BusinessMirror over the weekend that this is the same target set on the number of Filipinos that would have completed Step 1 and Step 2 of the National ID registration for the year.

“We will be targeting as many of these 9 million to complete the registration for Step 2, which is the capture of the biometric information and registration center and the validation for the documents that they submitted,” Mapa said in a recent briefing.

Assistant Secretary Rosalinda P. Bautista, Deputy National Statistician of the PhilSys Registry Office (PRO), said the first step of the PhilSys registration involves the collection of demographic data, such as name, permanent address, date and place of birth and blood type of the target registrant.

To obtain this information, PSA enumerators will go house-to-house and record these data through digital tablets. The information will then be sent directly to a secured PhilSys database.

Bautista said health protocols will be strictly enforced throughout the registration process to mitigate risks. By the end of this step, registrants will be issued an appointment slip that they will need to proceed with Step 2 of the registration at a later date.

She said Step 2, which will be done in a registration site, involves capturing the fingerprints and iris scans of the registrants.

The PSA said this “will be done safely because of the appointment system, which will schedule and manage the number of people to proceed to registration centers.” Mapa said this will also allow the PSA to undertake regular disinfection of machines used for the biometric capture.

The last step in the National ID registration process involves the issuance of PhilSys Numbers (PSNs) and physical IDs to the registrants.

“Everyone will eventually be registered under PhilSys. However, we aim to register low-income households first, to improve the targeting and distribution of government aid. We will start in provinces which more or less belong to the bottom 40 percent of the population in terms of income,” Mapa said in a statement.

To comply with health and safety protocols, the PSA enumerators and registration officers will go house-to-house and collect demographic information of a select sample of low-income household heads from 32 priority provinces this year.

These provinces include: Ilocos Sur; La Union; Pangasinan; Cagayan; Isabela; Bataan; Bulacan; Nueva Ecija; Pampanga; Tarlac; Zambales; Batangas; Cavite; Laguna; Quezon; and, Rizal.

The PSA said the list includes: Albay; Camarines Sur; Masbate; Antique; Capiz; Iloilo; Negros Occidental; Bohol; Cebu; Negros Oriental; Davao de Oro; Davao del Norte; Davao del Sur; Davao Occidental; Leyte; and, Tawi-Tawi.

In order to conduct the National ID, the PSA was granted a budget of P27.8 billion. Mapa said the PSA already received a total of P7.1 billion to prepare the PhilSys, including the bidding and award of the five contracts.

This is composed of the following: P2 billion for 2018; P2.1 billion billion for 2019; and, P3 billion for 2020.

For 2021, Mapa said the PSA is proposing a budget of P4.1 billion. If granted, this will lead to a total of P11.2 billion between 2018 and 2021.

This will leave P16.6 billion of the National ID budget to complete the registration of around 92 million Filipinos by 2022.

“Ang isa sa mga pinakamalaking gastos sa lahat ng National ID talaga ay ’yung registration process. Ito ’yung mga registration officers namin na pumupunta sa mga bayan-bayan, mga barangay para mag-collect ng information. [One of the biggest expenses in the National ID is the registration process. This is composed of the registration officers who go to towns and barangay to collect information]” Mapa said.

“Pagkatapos, ang isang malaking component din ay ’yung pag-produce ng ID mismo. Ito ang dalawang major items in the budget for 2021. [After this, one major component is the production of the National IDs. These are the two major items in the budget for 2021]” he added.

Mapa stressed, however, that the registration for the National ID will be a continuing process since the goal of the government is to provide National IDs for all Filipinos.

Ensuring that all Filipinos are registered is key to the country’s achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Under SDG 16, by 2030, countries should provide legal identity for all, including birth registration. Under this target is to increase the proportion of children under five years of age whose births have been registered with a civil authority, by age.