Data privacy advocates raised a howl on Thursday, May 27, against the supposed Landbank account that “comes” with every registration of the PhilSys ID, also known as the National ID .
The issue cropped up after Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) undersecretary Jonathan Malaya mistakenly claimed during a forum at the Privacy Awareness Week that a Landbank account is bundled with a PhilSys ID.
In online forums, data privacy professionals said the “automatic” Landbank account with the PhilSys Number (PSN) is not authorized under the rules or the law that created the Philippine Identification System (PhilSys).
But a check with the official websites of the Land Bank of the Philippines and the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) would reveal that DILG’s Malaya was wrong in saying that a bank account is lumped with the PhilSys ID.
In the Landbank website, it reported that a total of 2,481,788 unbanked PhilSys registrants have “signed up” for Landbank “transaction accounts” as of April 30.
A transaction account is similar to a debit account, which unbanked registrants can use for electronic transactions. However, it does not come bundled with the PhilSys ID and that registrants must sign up for it.
Landbank said the transaction account is part of its agreement with the PSA to co-locate during the PhilSys Step 2 registration to provide unbanked registrants with their own transaction accounts.
Of the total 2,481,788 unbanked registrants, Landbank said it has already issued Landbank Agent Banking Cards (ABCs) to 850,875 of them — free-of-charge and without an initial deposit requirement — while the rest will receive their cards by July.
Upon the invitation of National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) director general Karl Kendrick T. Chua to co-locate with the PSA, Landbank said it aims to bank at least one household member of the estimated 18 million low-income households applying for the National ID and provide them access to basic banking services and emergency government subsidies.
Previously, the PSA reported that 82% of the 10.52 million initial registrants do not have formal bank accounts.
Unbanked PhilSys registrants can avail of transaction accounts once they have completed the second step of the registration, which covers the validation of supporting documents and capturing of biometrics information, according to Landbank.
Cardholders can use the Landbank ABCs to cash-in, cash-out, and transfer funds at any Landbank branch or agent banking partner. They can also withdraw cash at Mastercard-accepting ATMs, perform cashless transactions, shop online, as well as receive government subsidy digitally.
Soon, Landbank said the ABCs can also be used as contactless cards to pay fares in public transport modes under the Automatic Fare Collection System (AFCS) project of the Department of Transportation (DOTr).
Landbank said it is tapping its personnel, as well as accredited cooperatives, associations, small and medium enterprises (SMEs), and private entities as agent banking partners, to assist in the account application and Know-Your-Customer (KYC) requirements at the registration sites.
Landbank said it has co-located in 790 PhilSys Registration Centers in 10 regions, with additional centers in the pipeline as registrations continue to take place in 32 priority provinces nationwide.
For its part, the PSA said a total of 1,052,861 Filipinos have registered through the online Step 1 Registration of the Philippine Identification System (PhilSys) as of May 17.