President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday assured Filipinos that their privacy would be protected as he signed into law the national ID system. Image Credit: Youtube

Manila: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has signed the Philippine ID System Law, a long-awaited measure that aims to provide a nationwide database of all Filipinos and a card that would greatly ease their transactions with the government.

Under the law, the ID with a microchip embed would include the name, gender, place of birth, as well as fingerprints and iris scan of the bearer, among others.

During his regular press briefing at the palace, Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said Duterte signed the Philippine ID System (PhilSys) in Malacañang on Monday afternoon.

“As we all know, the President is averse to bureaucratic red tape. Through PhilSys, we hope to improve efficiency and transparency of public services and promote ease of doing business,” Roque said.

Unlike the previous National ID Bill — which was earlier declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court due to the lack of system to protect its database, this new ID system will pass all constitutional requisites.

“We are confident that this time around it will pass the test of constitutionality,” he added.


He mentioned three advantages of having the PhiSys Law.

“It will, number one, promote national security because we will have a database of all Filipinos. Number two, this will prevent identity theft and three, it will promote a better delivery of goods and services from the government to the people.”

Senate minority leader Franklin Drilon, the principal author of this particular law in the Upper Chamber, said the PhilSys Law consolidates all existing government-initiated identification systems into an integrated and efficient identification system for Philippine citizens.

Drilon also reiterated that the law would not affect data privacy as the pertinent provisions of the Data Privacy Act will still apply.

“We have provided enough safeguards to protect the individual’s right to privacy and to prevent unscrupulous persons from accessing confidential information,” Drilon stressed.

Common reference number

He said that data that will be included in the national ID system would not be different from the information that are currently present in all government-issued IDs, Drilon noted.

Under the new law, a Common Reference Number (CRN) will be given to all Filipinos containing essential information such as full name, address, date and place of birth, sex, civil status, signature, CRN and date of card issuance, along with a recent photo.

The CRN/ID can be used by a citizen in its transactions with all branches of the government. The ID will also be honoured when transacting with certain private institutions, like banks, he noted.

Filipinos abroad

“Filipinos living and working abroad can register at embassy or consular offices in their countries of location to get their assigned CRN.

"The application for the ID system shall be free of charge, as part of the government’s social responsibility,” Drilon said.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia earlier said despite the numerous IDs in existence in the Philippines, 14 per cent of Filipinos are denied of government and other financial services due to a lack of proper identification documents.

Information to be collected 

Information to be collected under the Philippine Identification System includes the following:


•  Full name
•  Gender
•  Date of birth
•  Blood type
•  Address
•  Citizenship


•  Marital status
•  Mobile number(s)
•  Email address(es)


Biometric information will also be recorded, including: 

•  Front-facing photograph
•  Full set of fingerprints
•  Iris scan.

Other identifiable features may be collected, if necessary.

Where to use the PhilID or PSN?

The PhilID or PSN can be used when dealing with national government agencies, local government units, government-owned or -controlled corporations, government financial institutions, and the private sector.

The law lays out specific transactions that the ID can be used for:

•  Applying for social welfare and benefits
•  Applying for services offered by the GSIS, SSS, PhilHealth, Pag-Ibig, and other government agencies
•  Applying for passport and driver’s licenses
•  Tax-related transactions
•  Registration and voting identification purposes
•  Applying for schools, colleges, universities, and other learning institutions Applying for employment and other related transactions
•  Opening bank accounts and other transactions with banks and financial institutions
•  Verifying criminal records and clearances
•  Other transactions defined in the implementing rules and regulations (IRR)