By Joann Villanueva, September 13, 2023; Philippine News Agency

MANILA – As the government pushes for the digitalization of its processes, issuance of a “significant portion” of digital national IDs by end-2023 is being targeted, with authorities assuring data protection of ID holders.

In a Palace briefing on Wednesday, Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) Secretary Ivan John Uy said the agency has been given access to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) database and is now in the process of evaluating whether the information meets the requirement for the issuance of a digital national ID.

He cited the quality of some photos as an issue, noting that in some instances low-resolution cameras were used to capture the biometrics of the national ID applicants.

Uy is hoping that this issue will be minimal to prevent additional cost to the government in terms of the need to repeat image capturing but clarified that this problem will not delay the whole process.

All Filipinos are encouraged to apply for the national ID under the Philippine Identification System Act, or Republic Act 11055.

Authorities have repeatedly highlighted the need for a national ID to help eliminate the need for Filipinos to present several government-issued IDs in their transactions.

It will also help the government in determining who to enroll in its aid-distribution program.

To date, authorities said there are more than 80 million Filipinos who have applied for national ID.

“I’m hoping that with the full support of the President and the full support, perhaps, of our legislators to give us all the necessary budget and support that we’ll be able to deploy this, at least, if not 100 percent, a significant portion of it by yearend,” Uy said.

The DICT chief is confident of the agency’s ability to hit its target, citing their accomplishment in developing the e-Gov Super App and launched last June, which was developed within a year.

The mobile application serves as a one-stop shop for national and government transactions.

Uy said scammers cannot gather data of users of the e-Gov app because the information is not stored in the app but in the data bases of the various agencies that have these such as the Social Security System and the Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF) or the Pag-IBIG Fund.

Uy said they are also studying ways on how Filipinos, who do not have smart phones or access to the internet, utilize their digital national ID.

“We’re working out ways in order for you to still be able to utilize your digital ID even with those limitations,” he said.

He also clarified that while DICT has been tasked to issue digital national ID, PSA will continue to issue physical cards.