OFWs airport
Filipino overseas workers at the Manila international airport. Image Credit: File

Manila: Overseas Filipino workers may be required to get their national identification cards before they are allowed to leave the country, an official said.

Dr Lisa Grace Bersales, head of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), said in a radio interview that the government is planning to recommend to the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration that overseas Filipino workers (OFW) get their national ID cards first before they would be allowed to go abroad.

In August, President Rodrigo Duterte signed the Philippine Identification System (PhilSys) Act. The new law will provide a plastic-machine readable card to all Filipinos. The card also proves that they are listed in a nationwide data-base so that all their transactions with the government would be easier.

“We plan to propose to the POEA that our OFWs, before they leave the country, secure a national ID,” Bersales said.

However, she said this is just a plan in the meantime. In the first place, OFWs would be able to get their PhilSys cards at the consulates.

The PSA serves primary implementing agency in the PhilSys project.

Earlier, she said that although the law on the PhilSys was signed this August, it could take up to March 2019 for the PSA to issue the first IDs.

The PhilSys Act also aims to provide a central identification clearing house for all citizens as well as resident foreigners in the Philippines. To get the national ID for their children, Bersales said all the parents have to do is register their son or daughter’s national ID soon as they secure a birth certificate.

She said the child’s biometric information can be captured he or she is already five years old. Once that data is already recorded, the child can secure a new ID by the time he or she reaches that age of 18.

The PhilSys ID can be used by Filipinos in all their transactions with any branches of the government.

Earlier, the government announced that it would be providing Filipino migrant workers with the OFW e-Card which provides similar benefits to the PhilSys ID.