Digital National IDs Still Cannot be Fully Implemented Nationwide, Says Philippine Statistics Authority
In a meeting with the Senate Committee on Finance on Monday, September 25, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) stated that the implementation of digital national IDs across the country is still not feasible due to a lack of smartphone ownership among Filipinos.
PSA Undersecretary Claire Dennis S. Mapa responded to Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa’s suggestion of implementing digital IDs as a solution to the delays in issuing physical national IDs. Mapa acknowledged that while digital IDs are the way forward, not all Filipinos aged 15 and above have smartphones. She also highlighted the limited connectivity in some areas, such as island barangays and municipalities, which necessitates the provision of physical cards.
Mapa clarified that the digital national IDs, also known as electronic Philippine Identification Cards (ePhilIDs), can be used for financial transactions, but stressed that they are only temporary and will eventually be replaced by physical IDs.
According to Mapa, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and its service providers aim to clear the backlog of 92 million physical national IDs by next year. When questioned about potential delays, Mapa attributed them to the significant surge in registration in 2021.
“The spike in registration, particularly in 2021, where we are reaching about 230,250,000 registrants per day – that’s seven days a week – exceeds our card printing facilities’ capacity, which can only produce 80,000 cards per day,” Mapa explained.
Earlier this month, the PSA reported that 80.54 million Filipinos, equivalent to 87.5 percent of the population aged five years old and above, had been registered in the Philippine Identification System (PhilSys) as of September 1.
The implementation of digital national IDs remains a goal for the Philippines, but ensuring equal access and connectivity across the nation’s population will be crucial for its success.