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Philippine president signs national ID system law

Staff Writer |
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte signed on Monday the Philippine Identification System (PhilSys) Act establishing a national ID system which is expected to improve efficiency and transparency of public services and promote ease of doing business.

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Duterte said the measure "will establish a single national identification system that will promote good governance, enhance governmental transactions and create a more conducive environment for trade and commerce to thrive".

In his speech during the signing of the measure at the presidential palace, the president appealed to Filipinos to support the act that will seek "to promote the efficient delivery of services to our people through a single ID that will be issued to all citizens and resident aliens".

"This ID, which we will call the Phil-ID, will dispense with the need to present multiple IDs for different (government) transactions," Duterte said.

According to the local media, all Philippine citizens and registered aliens will be required to register through a government's central identification platform under the new law.

The national identification system will collect a person's demographic data such as full name, sex, date of birth, blood type, address and citizenship. Biometric information will also be recorded, including a front-facing photograph, full set of fingerprints, and iris scan.

A randomly generated, unique, and permanent ID number would be provided to a person. Then a physical ID card will also be issued.

Duterte said the new law "will not just enhance administrative governance but reduce corruption, curtail bureaucratic red tape, and promote the ease of doing business, but also avert fraudulent transactions, strengthen financial inclusion, and create a more secure environment for our people".

Several administrations have tried but failed to implement what Duterte described as "very important measure," partly because of the apprehensions peddled by some groups about privacy and data security, among others.

However, Duterte assured that the government agencies will work together to address all concerns pertaining to privacy and security.

The president added the Phil-ID "will even aid in our drive against the social menaces of poverty, corruption and criminal issues, as well as terrorism and violent extremism."

The Philippine Statistics Authority said that it will work closely with more than 10 government agencies to discuss specific plans for the implementation of the PhilSys. The plans aim to complete the national ID registration process in five years starting 2019.

The local media reported that the Philippines is one of the few countries in the world without a national ID system yet, and the passage of the new law will make the Philippines leave the short list of the countries without a national ID system.

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