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MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), the agency tasked with implementing the national ID system, foresees all Filipinos registered in the Philippine Identification System (PhilSys) within 3 to 5 years.
For starters, National Statistician and Civil Register General Lisa Bersales on Wednesday, August 8, said the PSA targets 25 million registrants by 2019.
“In 3 to 5 years, registered na ang lahat," she said during a press briefing. "Vision that after 4 years, no need for the other cards." (READ: National ID law: Here's the law, plus a quick summary)
All Filipino citizens and registered aliens shall enroll through the government's central identification platform. (READ: What you need to know about the proposed national ID system)
The agency, however, plans to start first with beneficiaries of unconditional and conditional cash transfers, senior citizens, and indigenous people. It will then announce open registrations for all.
“We have not yet decided as to what the queue will look like but it is clear to us that we’ll start with the UCTs, CCTs, senior citizens, and as to who will be next, we will announce," Berales said.
Signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday, August 6, PhilSys aims to improve the delivery of government services and lead to the ease of doing business with agencies.
According to Republic Act 11055, the system will "eliminate the need to present other forms of identification when transacting with the government and private sector."
The establishment of a national ID system has been the center of debate concerning privacy and data security for decades. (READ: 'Record history' casts cloud of doubt on the national ID system)
Bersales, however, said privacy impact assessment of the system will be done by a 3rd party to make sure that guidelines are in place guaranteeing security of data.
She also quelled fears that the PhilSys will be used against individuals, adding that what it aims “is very simple.”
“It will only answer who are you and are you really who you are,” Bersales said. “Its primary objective is to provide identity to citizens and resident aliens and those they will transact with to be able to authenticate their identity.”
The Philippines is one of the few countries in the world without a national ID system as previous attemps faced budget issues, legal troubles, and poor public support, among others. (READ: Past attempts at a national ID system: A battleground of privacy, executive power)
Jodesz Gavilan is a writer and researcher for Rappler and its investigative arm, Newsbreak. She covers human rights and also hosts the weekly podcast Newsbreak: Beyond the Stories. She joined Rappler in 2014 after obtaining her journalism degree from the University of the Philippines.