What you need to know about the Phil ID

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Citizens and resident aliens may soon start having a single and unified proof of identity as the bill seeking the creation of the Philippine Identification Systems (PhilSys) nears its passage into law.

Last week, the two chambers of Congress agreed to adopt the Senate’s version of the national ID system bill (Senate Bill 1738) with minor changes. It is expected to be ratified soon before it is transmitted to President Rodrigo Duterte for his signature.

The proposed measure is expected to make public and private transactions easier, help deter criminality and improve the delivery of services to the poor, the bill’s author and sponsor Sen. Panfilo Lacson said.

Record of an individual in the PhilSys—the government’s central identification platform—will be considered as an official and sufficient proof of identity.

But critics raised fears on the possible violations of privacy. Others even said that it might become a mechanism for control and repression.

ID features

The PhilSys ID card issued to all citizens and foreign residents registered under the PhilSys is the physical medium to convey the vital information about the person’s identity.

It will contain the PhilSys number (PSN)—permanent identification number that will be assigned to every citizen or resident alien—full name, facial image, date of birth, address and fingerprints of the bearer.

Lacson defended the proposal from criticisms on privacy, saying information about the cardholder is already kept by various government agencies that issue ID or other documents.

“Don’t they have driver’s licenses? Don’t they have passports? Don’t they have voters’ IDs? The information needed for the national ID is the same so why should they complain when they have already gone through the same process before?” he said, noting that PhilSys ID will contain security features and prevention against the proliferation of fraudulent or falsified identification cards.

Lacson, however, said that having national IDs would not be compulsory.

The initial application and issuance, as well as the renewal of PhilSys ID for Filipino citizens, will be free of charge.

To register with the PhilSys, citizens must present their birth certificates. Resident aliens, on the other hand, need to show their proof of residence in the country.


Proponents of the measure call the PhilSys ID the “one for all, all for one” ID as it seeks to synchronize and harmonize all “countless and redundant” government-initiated identification cards into a unified and efficient system.

Lacson said there are at least 33 different “functional” identification cards issued by various government agencies such as the Unified Multi-Purpose ID issued to members of the Social Security System, Government Service Insurance System, Philippine Health Insurance Corp. and the Home Development Mutual Fund (Pag-IBIG Fund).

“The PhilSys will eliminate the need to present other forms of identification in a wide variety of public and private transactions, services and derivative identity credentials,” Lacson said.

Aside from serving as a proof of identity, the ID card may be used in application for services and benefits granted by the government, application for passports and driver’s license, admission to government hospital, private or public schools, and bank and tax-related transactions.

Finance Assistant Secretary Paola Alvarez on Monday said the passage of the National ID System would help the government administer the unconditional cash transfers as it would make the identification of beneficiaries easier.

The proposed measure mandates the Philippine Statistics Authority to act as the PhilSys Registry, the repository of all data including the PSN, registered records and information of all individuals registered in the PhilSys.

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