THE Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) targets to finish the cumulative registration of 101 million Filipinos by September next year.
During the Senate budget hearing of the proposed budget of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) and its attached agencies for next year, PSA officials said it will take a year to complete the delivery of physical ID cards to Filipinos who have registered with the Philippine Identification System (PhilSys).
As of September 8, 2023, 80.6 million were registered with Philsys, but only 39.7 million have received their physical IDs, while 40.8 million have been issued digital IDs.
PSA chief and National Statistician Dennis Mapa said the backlog is due to the card printing capacity of the contracted printer, which can only accommodate up to 80,000 per day.
Mapa also noted the increase in registrations from back to 2021, when up to 250,000 Filipinos enrolled in the system.
He said the delivery adjustment is really to increase the capacity of the printer, adding the PSA will prioritize the delivery of physical IDs to residents of island barangays “because people need physical cards.”
In the proposed 2024 National Expenditure Program of NEDA, P8.94 billion or 73 percent of NEDA’s budget is allocated to PSA as its attached agency.
About P1.61 billion is devoted to the PhilSys as the PSA aims to register into the system a total of 101 million Filipinos by next year.
Senator Ronald Dela Rosa, however, suggested the remaining physical ID should no longer be printed. He reasoned that since the world is going digital, the national ID should also be made all-digital.
He said the government can save on printing costs “if we no longer have physical IDs” and also wants the national ID to be used in all transactions, especially SIM card registration.
Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian supports the non-printing of physical IDs to remove the concerns over the quality of physical cards previously issued by the PSA.
Mapa, however, said that while the PSA’s goal is to go digital, not all Filipinos aged 15 and above have smartphones.
“There are instances when there is only one smartphone per household so digital ID will not be applicable to all,” he added.
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 Marcos Jr. in July said PhilSys will be at the forefront of his administration’s digital transformation agenda.
But Mr. Marcos has become impatient over the delays in the release of national IDs, Secretary Ivan John Uy of the Department of Information and Communications Technology 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
Mapa added that the PhilSys Council is looking for ways to increase the printing capacity of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ service provider to expedite the printing of IDs.
BSP overlooks the printing of PhilID cards 24/7. It aims to increase the capacity to 150,000 IDs printed per day from the current average of 80,000 IDs per day.