Many Philippine senators are reluctant to pass a version of the National ID bill due to concerns about possible abuse of the system. Image Credit: Philippine Senate

Manila: A proposed law seeking to establish a universal identification system for Filipinos was passed by the House of Representatives on third and final reading recently.

The bill on the Filipino Identification System seeks to establish a whole information acquisition structure for the National Identification Database to work in synch with the National Identification Card, a single card containing an electronic chip where important information on a citizen can be accessed whenever he or she avails government services.


Voting 142 for and only seven against, the Hose passed the measure which seeks to establish a single, unified and streamlined national identification system in the country called the “FilSys.”

According to Finance Undersecretary Karl Kendrick Chua, the government is set to allot a P2 billion (Dh144 million) budget for the roll-out in 2018 of the national ID system. An estimated 105 million or practically all Filipinos will be holding their own cards by 2020.

The National ID System is a handy card that could be tucked in the wallet containing valid proof of identity of Philippine citizens.

Common reference number

It contains a permanent Common Reference Number (CRN), which will be unique and will be used by the card holder for his or her entire lifetime.

Chua said that under the bill, every Filipino, upon reaching the age of 18 and whether residing in the Philippines or abroad, is required to register personal data as required by the FilSys and upon application, shall be issued a non-transferable FilID.

The FilID contains essential information about the citizen’s identity; and enrols the holder to a Filipino Citizen Registry which is administered by the Philippine Statistics Authority.


Personal data registered in the FilSys will be confidential and limited to the photograph of facial features of the holder, full name, sex date of birth, place of birth, permanent address, blood type and bar code.

The card will contain a smart chip possessing information on cardholder’s date of birth, place of birth, permanent address, marital status, blood type, parents’ full name, biometrics information, height, weight in kilograms, distinguishing features and tax identification number (TIN).

Likewise, it will contain information such as voter’s identification number, Philippine passport number, PhilHealth (the government health insurance cover) membership number and the like; information that authorities may require for the purpose of attaining the objectives of the FilSys.

These information will be stored in a government database.

The FilID shall serve as the official government-issued identification document of a cardholder in dealing with national government agencies, local government units, government-owned or — controlled corporations and government financial institutions.

Senate version

Senate is expected to come up with their own version of the FilSys before President Rodrigo Duterte signs the measure into law.

There had been numerous attempts under past administrations to come up with a national ID system all of which had failed.

As for overseas Filipino workers (OFW), the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration had issued something similar to the so-called OFW IDs envisioned in the measure during the time of President Joseph Estrada in 2003.

OFW Spike Kapauan who works in Japan as a technology professional recalls that the OFW ID at that time allowed migrant workers to transact with the Philippine government without any hassles.

“Valid ID accepted in government transactions, banks, etc. We were able to do it before without any fuss,” he said.