The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) has announced recently that eventually, Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) who are set to leave the country may need a national ID card first before they could even travel to their country of destination.
The announcement came following the signing by President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippine Identification System (PhilSys) Act—a law that provides for all Filipinos with plastic-machine readable ID cards. The law will provide for an individual—either a Filipino citizen or a resident alien (foreigners who have resided in the Philippines for over 180 days)— to have official and valid proof of identity.
The PhilSys Act as well proposes that parents enroll their children as early as they obtain their birth certificates. The registration can be updated with biometrics, whenever the child hits the age of five. Once it’s done, the child could have an ID once he reaches his 18th birthday.
The issuance of this national ID card is supposed to solve the issue of identification and to serve as evidence that the person is included within the list of nationwide databases. The ID will have a distinctive Philippine System Number (PSN) delegated to each Filipino that can be used in all transactions with all branches of the government and even certain private institutions like banks.
According to the head of the PSA, Dr. Lisa Grace Bersales, they will also drive for the digital element of PhilSys and set up a contact ID that can be used by residents on their devices.
“The vision will be in the coming two to three years, as we issue cards, we will provide mobile IDs,” said Bersales. “We shall have a feature where you can download your ID onto your mobile phone, and that [will be] your mobile ID.”
Bersales also reported that they are also working with the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) to enable the OFWs to obtain their national IDs before leaving the country.
“We plan to propose to the POEA that our OFWs before they leave the country, secure a national ID,” Bersales had said.
The PhilSys, which had been signed in August, may be released to the general public until March 2019. In the meantime, everything remains a plan as the OFWs can still get their ID cards in the consulates once its circulation begins.