By Jon Viktor D. Cabuenas, September 25, 2023; GMA Integrated News

It will take a year to complete the delivery of the physical cards of Filipinos who have so far registered with the Philippine Identification System (PhilSys) as printers are catching up with the volume, a top government official said Monday.

According to National Statistician Claire Dennis Mapa, there have been 81 million Filipinos who have registered with the PhilSys, equivalent to 81% of the population aged five and above, 85% of those aged 15 and above, and 65% of those aged five to 14.

Out of those who registered, less than half, or 39.7 million have received their physical identification cards, while 41.2 million have only been issued those printed on paper or the ePhilID.

Mapa said the backlog is due to the card printing capacity which can only accommodate up to 80,000 per day, while there was a spike in registration dating back to 2021 when up to 250,000 Filipinos enrolled in the system.

“‘Yung adjustment is really to increase the capacity of the printer, so parang you have more volume in the registration, but the printer capacity was pegged at about 80,000. So that is the catch-up plan that we are actually talking with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP),” he said in a Senate hearing.

“Based on their schedule as presented to us, they will clear everything by September of 2024,” he added, noting that the printing will continue to operate on a first-in, first-out basis.

At present, the PSA aims the cumulative registration of 101 million Filipinos by 2024, with the program seeking a P1.6-billion budget for the year.

Former President Rodrigo Duterte signed the national identification system into law in August 2018, seeking to harmonize, integrate, and interconnect the redundant government IDs into a single system.

President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. in July said PhilSys will be at the forefront of his administration’s digital transformation agenda.

Marcos Jr. has become impatient over the delays in the release of national IDs, Department of Information and Communications Technology Secretary Ivan John Uy said earlier this month, adding that the DICT is addressing the matter.

Uy expressed confidence that a significant number of digital IDs could be released by the end of this year.