Philippines mulling biometrics-based digital ID system

18/08/17

Philippine officials from its central bank have said that the country is considering a biometrics-based digital ID system similar to India's.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) is studying how the Philippines can establish a national ID system similar to India's "Aadhaar."

"The vision for this system is to support multiple case use. Similar to what India has done in launching their 'Aadhaar' system, which we are trying to study very carefully," BSP Governor Nestor Espenilla Jr. said in a forum in Mandaluyong City.

"It is a foundational ID system… it's only rule is to establish, associate an individual biometrically with a unique number so that you are identifiable all throughout the system," he added.

India's "Aadhaar" — a Hindu word for foundation — is now tagged as the largest ID database system in the world with one billion population targeted to be included in the system.

The central bank chief said the establishment of a national ID system in the Philippines will solve a major issue — "the lack of identity in our system."

He said that the BSP, Department of Budget and Management, Department of Finance, and the Philippine Statistics Authority are now discussing the "foundational biometric ID system" with the aim of facilitating financial inclusion among Filipinos.

"With the national ID system, disenfranchisement will be a thing of the past. The goal is for more Filipinos to be financially included with the number of unbanked shrinking faster," Espenilla said.

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