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PSA blames high volume of registrants for delayed national ID printing

The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) pointed to the influx of registrants in the Philippine Identification System (PhilSys) for the delay in the printing of national ID cards.

At a virtual press briefing, PSA chief Dennis Mapa said, “The reason for the delay [in printing] is the high volume in the registration… We didn’t expect it.”

Mapa explained that as of October 17, about 74.28 million Filipinos have already registered in the PhilSys or have already undergone the process of collecting their demographic and biometric information.

“This already represents 98.7% of the population ages 15 years and above… and represents 80% of target [registrants] for 2022,” he said.

Of the said number, a total of 51.23% have already undergone backend identity verification “to determine if the person registering is unique.”

The PSA chief said the agency was able to issue a unique 12-digit PhilSys number to over 45 million registrants out of the 51 million who have already undergone the backend verification process.

“Out of this, we have already dispatched/turned over to the Philippine Post Office a total of 22.55 million PhilID cards,” Mapa said.

The PhilPost, meanwhile, has delivered about 17.6 million PhilID cards as of October 14, he said.

Because of the over 74 million registrants and more than 45 million generated PhilSys numbers, “we have a backlog of about 29 million,” according to Mapa.

“The exceptional pace of meeting the registration target created a substantial gap among the accomplishment rates of the registration which is moving very fast, the backend identity verification, and subsequently the delivery of the PhilIDs,” the PSA chief said.

At the same briefing, Information and Communications Undersecretary Dennis Villorente said the backlog can be addressed in four months.

While the registrants are waiting for their actual national IDs, Mapa said the PSA introduced the digital version of the PhilSys or ePhilID, which can be printed at the PSA’s registration centers, as a “proactive strategy that will allow more Filipinos to immediately enjoy the benefits of being PhilSys registered.”

“The issuance of printed ePhilID is to complement the delivery of the physical cards from the printing facilities of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) so that the registered person can immediately utilize the benefits of the PhilSys such as faster and seamless transaction in accessing financial and social protection services requiring proof of identity subject to authentication,” Mapa said.

The issuance of the ePhilID is also according to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s directive to issue 50 million IDs by the end of the year, of which 30 million are physical cards and 20 million digital printed versions.

Mapa said that so far the PSA has pre-generated close to two million ePhilIDs for claiming as of October 20.

“Out this close to two million, about 385,657 printed, are already in the hands of registrants,” the PSA chief said.

Villorente, likewise, said that “printable ePhilID was planned so that while we have a backlog in issuing the physical cards the benefit of being registered will be available once you get the ePhilID.”

“We will provide a mobile app version so you can carry your ePhilID without bringing a printed version,” the DICT official said.

Open to inquiry

House Deputy Minority Leader Bernadette Herrera of the Bagong Henerasyon party-list filed a resolution seeking a probe into the printing and distribution of the national ID.

Herrera said the delayed printing was “unacceptable,” as she criticized the printed digital versions of national IDs.

“Open naman ang PSA sa kahit anong inquiry na ating legislators,” Mapa said.

(The PSA is open to any inquiry by our legislators.)

Mapa said the PSA, in partnership with the BSP, is planning to add two more lines in the printing facilities.

“These will increase the capacity,” he said, adding that the PSA is targeting to increase its printing capacity of national ID cards to 130,000 per day from about 80,000 per day. — DVM, GMA News