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The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said 5,788,615 low-income Filipinos have taken the first step of the registration phase for the Philippine identification system (PhilSys) amid some delays posed by the recent typhoons, according to a report by Philippine News Agency.

“We partnered with the Department of National Defense to transport our registration kits to the 32 provinces, but due to the recent typhoons and the resulting relief efforts, we are encountering minor delays," Assistant Secretary Rosalinda Bautista, Deputy National Statistician of the PhilSys Registry Office (PRO), said in a statement.

Bautista asked the public to understand the situation “as the delivery of assistance to those affected by the typhoon is of utmost importance.”

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She said the PSA has notified the registrants about the changes in schedules due to the unforeseen calamities.

"We have notified, via text message, the registrants who were set to undergo Step 2 registration from November 25 to 30 about the change in schedule. Barangay officials in registration areas were requested to inform their constituents," Bautista said. "Personnel from the Provincial Statistics Offices were also instructed to man the registration centers to inform registrants of developments, in case there are still some that will arrive at the registration sites.”

Bautista earlier said the field works and ground operations for the PhilSys registration have been slowed down due to the onslaught of the typhoons, which hit some of the PSA's target areas for initial registration.

However, Bautista said the PhilSys registration is still on track.

The PSA reported that 89 percent of registrants have so far signified that they currently do not have bank accounts.

"This emphasizes the importance of ensuring the rollout of the country’s national ID program, as one of the main hindrances to financial inclusion is the lack of formal identification," the PSA said.

The mass rollout of the PhilSys project allows more Filipinos to access basic banking services and make them less vulnerable to informal lending practices that charge heavy interest rates, the PSA added.

The national identification will also help Filipinos access government and financial services.

The PSA said it will start the second phase of the PhilSys registration, which involves the capturing of biometric information such as fingerprints and iris scans, "once the required systems are fully functional and secured."

Among the major preparatory activities for Step 2 is the deployment of more than 4,000 registration kits to the target provinces, according to the PSA.

The third step of the registration is the issuance of a physical ID card stored with a 12-digit PhilSys number or personal serial number (PSN) and a 16-digit PhilSys card number (PCN).

The PSA targets to register the majority of Filipinos by the end of 2022.

The PSA has started collecting demographic data from targeted low-income Filipinos in 664 cities and municipalities in 32 provinces identified as “low-risk” areas for coronavirus outbreak, including Ilocos Sur, La Union, Pangasinan, Cagayan, Isabela, Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Tarlac, Zambales, Batangas, Cavite, Laguna, Quezon, Rizal, Albay, Camarines Sur, Masbate, Antique, Capiz, Iloilo, Negros Occidental, Bohol, Cebu, Negros Oriental, Leyte, Compostela Valley, Davao Del Norte, Davao Del Sur, Davao Occidental, and Tawi-Tawi.

Signed into law by President Rodrigo R. Duterte in August 2018, Republic Act 11055, or the Philippine Identification System Act, aims to establish a single national ID for all Filipinos and resident aliens.

The national ID shall be a valid proof of identity that shall be a means of simplifying public and private transactions, enrolment in schools, and the opening of bank accounts.

It will also boost efficiency, especially in dealing with government services where people will only need to present the ID during transactions.


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