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The Philippine Statistics Authority said it is on course to implement the Philippine Identification System (PhilSys) by mid-2022.

PhilSys, the foundational identification system that aims to provide a valid proof of identity for all citizens and resident aliens as a means of simplifying public and private transactions, was signed into law by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte in August 2018 in line with the government’s drive to curtail bureaucratic red tape.

“We are on track to have the system fully operational and to start the mass registration by mid-2020, and complete the enrollment of the population by mid-2022,” Undersecretary Dennis S. Mapa, National Statistician and Civil Registrar, said.

This year, the PSA has finished procuring the registration kits - one of the five major procurement blocks of the program.

In the pipeline for PhilSys are the procurement of the Automated Biometric Identification System (ABIS), System Integrator (SI), and registration centers. For card production, the PSA is in partnership with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).

On September 2, the pilot test registration involving a small number of individuals from the National Capital Region (NCR) has started. This includes select Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) beneficiaries and employees of PSA and National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

“The PSA sees the utmost importance for the PhilSys to first undergo a series of pilot testing before finally launching it to the public. We want to ensure that the processes are efficient, the systems are fully functional, and all information within the system are secure,” Mapa said.

The pilot test registration will run from September 2019 until June 2020. The first part will involve biometric and demographic capturing processes. Once the system is stable, operations will expand to cover select groups from nearby regions, Regions III and IV-A, based on different geographical typologies.

Set to begin in May 2020, the PSA will extend the pilot registration process to test the end-to-end system which essentially involves deduplication, generation of unique PhilSys Numbers (PSN), and card printing and issuance.

Registration will be scaled-up and open to the public by July 2020. Overseas Filipinos are targeted to be registered in 2021.

“We, at the PSA and our partners in PhilSys, take very seriously the responsibility to ensure the security and integrity of the personal data of Filipinos. Given that the PhilSys as a highly technical and complex program, we are pushing with multiple pilot testing to continuously improve the system and level up it security features before launching it to the public,” Mapa said.

The Data Privacy Act of 2012 and the PhilSys Act have strict controls over what circumstances the data in the PhilSys registry can be accessed and shared. Furthermore, the Privacy-by-Design features ensure that PSN-holders have full control over the access and use of their personal data.

A Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) will also be conducted this year to identify potential exposures with the privacy of personal information to which data privacy and security frameworks and standards will be anchored. Part of this will be the Vulnerability Assessment and Penetration Testing (VAPT) to test the integrity of the system.

The PhilSys Data Privacy Manual, as well as the Data Governance Framework, will further outline the privacy and data protection protocols and standards that will govern PhilSys operations.

Further, the PSA has designated Data Privacy Officers - one for the PSA and one solely for the PhilSys.

The National Privacy Commission (NPC) and the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), who have the mandate and capability to secure and protect the data of the Philippine Government, have oversight of the program as part of the PhilSys Policy and Coordination Council (PSPCC).

The aim of the PhilSys is to provide a valid proof of identity for all Filipinos and resident aliens, which will make access to government and private sector services simpler, quicker, and faster and eliminate the need to provide most other forms of identification when transacting.

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