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Digital IDs enable faster access to financial aid in Marawi

Software provider AID:Tech developed digital IDs that have helped 3,000 displaced Filipinos in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur province, get faster access to financial aid from Save the Children Philippines.  

The IDs, which use blockchain technology powered by Microsoft Azure, allow for easier identification and faster aid delivery.  

“The effect of the fighting here four years ago is still felt today. Until now, efforts to track down and identify everyone affected are still ongoing,” said Edwin Philip J. Horca, head of Save the Children Philippines in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), in a statement.   

In 2017, Marawi City was left in ruins due to a five-month battle between local Islamic terrorist groups and government forces. As of May 2021, it had only been 65% rehabilitated, according to a report by Task Force Bangon Marawi.  

As for the over 370,000 people that were displaced, Mr. Horca added: “One of the biggest challenges in delivering aid to the impacted people of Marawi is that many children and even their parents do not have birth certificates for identification, which in turn excludes them from social protection programs.”  

Because of these complexities, the Asian Development Bank (ADB), a partner in the government’s $408 million reconstruction and recovery program, introduced AID:Tech’s platform to Save the Children Philippines. Beneficiaries are provided both physical ID cards with QR (quick response) codes and digital identities that organizations can verify in the process of delivery.   

Microsoft Azure’s blockchain technology can track and trace donated items such as back-to-school kits and food provisions. Save the Children Philippines is also planning to work with the national and local government in BARMM to adopt the use of the digital ID system in future projects.  

“A billion people globally have no official identification according to the World Bank, and 30% of the world’s aid is unaccounted for as mentioned by former United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon,” said Fides Ricasa-De la Rosa, Chief Partner Officer at Microsoft Philippines, in a statement.  

“Combining a digital identity with digital delivery of assets in a single platform can significantly improve accountability in aid distribution and ensure everyone’s right to a name is fulfilled,” she added. — Brontë H. Lacsamana 

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