The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said it is accelerating the implementation of the Philippine Identification System (PhilSys) or the national ID program to enhance the government’s ability to deliver various social services.
NEDA chair Karl Chua said that as of September 10, over 42 million Filipinos have registered for step 1 or the demographic data collection. Despite the quarantines, almost 30 million have taken the second step to provide their biometrics in the registration centers, according to Chua.
He stressed that the national ID would enable Filipinos, especially the poor, to open bank accounts where they can directly receive cash transfers. “We aim to register at least 50 million Filipinos by the end of this year,” he said.
“The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic is challenging, but the Philippines has a solid foundation to recover at the right time. Reforms such as Rice Tariffication Law and the National ID are helping us restore our development trajectory and enabling the people, especially the poor, to access affordable food and better social services,” Chua said.
PhilSys would also facilitate financial inclusion by providing every Filipino with a valid proof of identity that is needed for low-income earners to open bank accounts and receive cash transfers as well as access other financial services, Chua added.
Meanwhile, state-run Land Bank of the Philippines said it has onboarded 5.3 million unbanked PhilSys registrants for their own transaction accounts through account opening booths at select PhilSys co-location areas nationwide. The registrants have already utilized the Landbank prepaid cards for various transactions amounting to P31.8 million.
The PhilSys registrants can use the Landbank prepaid cards to manage funds, withdraw cash, perform cashless transactions, shop and pay bills online, and receive government subsidies digitally.
“Bringing unbanked Filipinos into the financial mainstream lays the groundwork for inclusive growth, especially as we fast-track initiatives toward economic recovery and sustained development. Access to formal banking services encourages people to save money, repay loans, invest in financial products, and guides them to financial independence,” said Landbank president and CEO Cecilia C. Borromeo.
Unbanked PhilSys registrants may sign up for Landbank transaction accounts once they complete the PhilSys Step 2 registration, which covers validating supporting documents and capturing biometrics information.
PhilSys registrants can also activate their Landbank prepaid cards and perform their transactions through the Landbank Mobile Branches, which are deployed to communities across the country with disrupted or limited access to banking services.
The Landbank Mobile Branch is designed to service unbanked and underserved communities and areas affected by disasters, calamities, and other disruptive events, which form part of Landbank’s intensified efforts to advance greater financial inclusion in the country.