Local government units (LGUs) are all-out in their support for the Philippine Identification System (PhilSys) or national ID system, which allows marginalized registrants to open bank accounts even without an initial deposit.
The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) recently organized a webinar, participated in by about 300 LGU representatives and other PhilSys stakeholders, where financial inclusion was discussed.
The PSA has partnered with the state-run Land Bank of the Philippines (LandBank) to allow unbanked PhilSys registrants to finally have accounts.
So far, there are 1,443 PhilSys registration centers nationwide, with 181 in Luzon and 303 sites co-located with LandBank.
“As a foundational ID system, PhilSys intends to contribute to increasing financial inclusion by being the intervention in the lack of valid proof of identity experienced by many Filipinos,” PSA Undersecretary Dennis Mapa, also the National Statistician and Civil Registrar, said in a statement over the weekend.
Under PhilSys’ co-location strategy with Landbank, registrants can open bank accounts after completing the Step 2 biometrics registration process.
Mapa added the effort makes Filipinos “less vulnerable to informal lending practices that charge onerous interest rates”.
During the virtual event on February 10, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Director for Financial Inclusion, Ellen Joyce Suficiencia, said financial inclusion does not end with a transaction account.
Instead, members of the poor and the vulnerable sector will be entitled to a broad range of financial services.
“It also means that account owners are able to achieve financial goals, increase productivity for businesses that lead to job creation and inclusive economic growth, and access financial resilience-building tools amid the Covid-19 pandemic and climate change,” Suficiencia said
Through a memorandum in October 2019, the BSP is responsible for the production of 116 million blank Philippine Identification (PhilID) cards with security features for three years.
Signed into law by President Rodrigo 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 PhilID during transactions.