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Philippines to receive assistance from India in setting up National ID, broadband systems

INDIA has pledged aid to the Philippines as it sets up its national ID system, and also promised assistance in organizing a broadband network to fast-track its digital transformation, the Department of Finance (DoF) said.

In a statement over the weekend, the DoF said Indian Ambassador Shambhu S. Kumaran put forward the offers at a recent virtual meeting with Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III.

The national ID system program and the development of the broadband network are expected to support broader use of financial technology (fintech) and widen financial inclusion.

India launched a pioneering national ID system in 2009 known as Adhaar, which provided a unique 12-digit identifier to each of the country’s citizens across a population more than 1 billion strong.

Mr. Dominguez also told Mr. Kumaran that Indian private companies can participate in the government’s plan to improve cyber security at government banks and their subsidiaries.

The national ID system seeks to provide a single identification card to all Filipinos and reduce dependence on multiple government-issued IDs. The broadband network hopes to boost adoption of fiber optic networks and wireless technology, while allowing smaller telecommunication companies to enter the market.

Mr. Kumaran was quoted as saying that Indian firms are also seeking to participate more in the country’s “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program.

The two sides will discuss more possible project partnerships, according to the DoF.

Mr. Dominguez said India’s GMR Infrastructure Ltd. is already involved in infrastructure projects like the Mactan Cebu International Airport project and expansion of the Clark International Airport.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte made official visits to India in 2017 and 2018, and Indian President Ram Nath Kovind paid a state visit to the Philippines in 2019. — Beatrice M. Laforga

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