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Palace approves P3.5-B added budget for nat’l ID

MALACAÑANG on Wednesday said President Rodrigo R. Duterte has approved the P3.52-billion additional budget to register 20 million more Filipinos in the Philippine Identification System (PhilSys) by the end of 2021.

“We are hoping that by the end of 2021 all 20 million low-income families will have a bank account and that will be a major accomplishment,” Acting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua said in an online briefing on Wednesday.

Mr. Chua said that 8.7 million already went through the first step of the registration process this month.

“Of the 8.7 million that we have registered for step 1, 89% have no bank accounts because they have no IDs that are sufficient or other requirements,” he said.

Step one for the national ID registration involves giving appointment slips to individuals, who will then visit registration centers where demographic data will be collected.

Step two, which entails gathering the biometric information of applicants, is expected to begin by January. The distribution of the national IDs, which are free, is targeted for February, Mr. Chua said.

“Land Bank [of the Philippines] will co-locate in the registration centers to immediately open a bank account,” Mr. Chua said, adding these accounts will make distribution of subsidies easier.

About five million adult Filipinos opened an account with a financial institution in 2019, bringing the banked population to 29% from 23% in 2017, data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) showed. Despite this, 51.2 million out of 72 million Filipino adults remain unbanked.

Republic Act No. 11055 or the Philippine Identification System Act of 2018 provides for a single identification system for all Filipinos. It can be used as the sole ID for the know-your-customer process of banks.

The BSP targets to have 70% of the Filipino adults banked by 2023. — Luz Wendy T. Noble

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