PhilSys aims to accelerate financial inclusion among Filipinos

Aside from providing each citizen and resident alien valid proof identity, one of the main objectives of the Philippine Identification System (PhilSys) is accelerate the government’s programs for financial inclusion.

At the “On Q” session of FINTQ, Philippine Statistics Authority Undersecretary Lisa Grace Bersales reiterated the advantages of having PhilSys especially in doing government transactions. FINTQ is the financial technology unit of Voyager Innovations Inc., which is the digital arm of telecommunications and service provider company PLDT.

According to the “2017 Financial Inclusion Survey” by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, the number of Filipino adults with a formal account is estimated at 15.8 million or 22.6 percent of the total adult population. This is a modest improvement from 22% based on the survey conducted in 2015.

“The ID system will be revolutionary for each citizen of the Philippines especially to those who don’t know about the digital economy,” Bersales said. “This is something we need for our people.”

Republic Act 11055 otherwise known as PhilSys was signed into law on Aug. 6 this year. The implementing rules and regulations were published in October.

7 million

Citing a World Bank study, Lito Villanueva, managing director and CEO of FINTQ said 14 percent (of Filipinos) are denied of government and other financial services.

Bersales said the government is looking at registering 7 million Filipinos next year. PSA will also hold mobile registrations in far-flung areas to reach citizens who

When PhilSys will be implemented, newborns are automatically registered and given their unique PhilSys number or PSN which is randomly picked.

Contrary to initial reports, Bersales clarified that PhilSys will only bear basic information and does not include membership numbers of other government IDs such as GSIS and SSS.

“In fact, it’s the other way around,” she explained. “PhilSys will be used to get IDs from these institutions.”

Citizens will only retain government IDs that include driver’s and professional licenses as well as passports. Bersales also revealed that PSA is already working on the proof of concept that will last until August, a month before the target start of PhilSys registration.

Privacy by design

Villanueva raised the concern on data security.

“You can never be secure,” Bersales said. “But with the help from DICT (Department of Information and Technology), we are doing our best to adopt privacy by design. We will do our best to secure your data. We will be doing a privacy impact assessment every year.”

Privacy by design is a voluntary approach to projects that promote privacy and data protection compliance and helps you comply with the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA).

She also clarified that PSA will not be creating a “super database” that was reported to include all of a citizen’s information. The agency will also do regular privacy assessment and vulnerability penetration testing to secure the citizen data.

“PhilSys is really just for identification,” she said.

We will have mobile registrations to reach citizens in far-flung areas. Bersales said, personally, her main concern is the indigenous peoples who need to have proof of identity so they can access government services due them.

Bersales said the government has allotted a P4-million budget for next year’s registration and it is expected to balloon to P27 million by 2020 as registration will be in full swing by then. The senior citizens will be the priority while local government units are expected to also prioritize disadvantaged citizens.