Insights & Analyses

Philippines plans 2018 launch of national ID system with biometrics, EMV

The government of the Philippines plans to debut its national identity system in 2018, eventually serving some 105 million citizens within its first two years of availability.

The Republic of the Philippines will spend some 2 billion Philippine pesos for the program’s roll-out next year, pending approval from congress.

The Philippines Department of Finance plans to utilize biometric data in their national ID system to provide citizens with a proper and secure identification method, whether accessing basic services or obtaining discounts and tax exemptions. The card is also planned to include an EMV chip for providing cash subsidies, according to Philstar.

The phased launch will first provide cards to seniors and persons with disabilities. Then the poorest households — some 5.2 million people in the Philippines — will receive IDs, allowing them to access welfare.

It’s still undetermined how far the cards and their integrated biometrics will go, as the Department of Finance is reportedly looking into whether they could be used for the nation’s Social Security System, for example.

Governments around the world are looking to curb tax fraud, identity theft and other abuses of services and rights with stricter and more secure identification methods. By integrating biometrics into identity systems, officials see verification methods such as fingerprint and iris scanning making it near impossible for anyone to misrepresent themselves.

In addition, revamped ID cards can offer citizens simpler access to government services, financial transactions and more. With EMV secure payment capabilities, for example, the new Philippines ID card could not only enable poorer citizens to verify their identity and open a line of credit, but potentially use that very same card to allow debit transactions.