Document Verification, Identity Verification

Philippines launches new toolkit for Digitization of Identity verification

Philippines ID verification

A financial technology company has announced UrGovPH, an open finance solution that will allow local governments to develop digital services across identity, finance, property, and business interaction.

Digitization of the Citizen Identity verification and Business Verification

The UrGovPH platform will allow the digitization of local government units (LGUs) and national public services to verify businesses’ and individuals’ identities. Automation of business registration and taxation, acceptance of digital payments, and digital transactions are all now possible with this newly launched solution. 

Citizen Identity Verification will also be automated, with integrated liveness checks and document verification from government IDs or databases connected to the system. Identity Verification through digital means will speed up e-governance in the Philippines and make the country’s financial systems more accessible.

This development conforms in with the Philippines’ continuing mission to digitize the economy and society, including its primary venture in the digital ID scheme, PhilID – Philippines Identity Verification system based on the MOSIP open-source platform has significant printing delays, which could result in the credential going digital, with digital identity verification and online document verification.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. (also known as Bongbong Marcos) called for digitizing government archives and the PhilID system to speed up, improving several aspects of government, society, public systems, industries, and institutions. 

What is the ongoing Digital shift in the Philippines? Why is digital ID a crucial part of the changing economy? 

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to light the crucial part that digital ecosystems may play in assisting a nation in quickly providing services and relief to its citizens, such as healthcare, education, and social support. The “stack” of digital IDs, digital payments, and data sharing systems that were already in place in some countries made them better respond to pandemics and ensure service continuity by switching to online channels.

A fantastic example of a government addressing the gaps in the digital ecosystem is the Philippines, which has strengthened the fundamental infrastructure for ID, data governance, and electronic payments. The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) began implementing the Philippine Identification System, a ID system in 2019. The Philippines is one of the only natioFns without an entire ID system beyond its civil registry.

Taking lessons from the difficulties of providing social assistance without a real ID, Digital SP delivery was identified by PSA as a priority issue during the COVID-19 response, and it is currently being used by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to modernize the nation’s leading social assistance programs digitally. Through several programs (the Beneficiary FIRST Social Protection Project, the Beneficiary FIRST Social Protection

Why is it essential for a country to have a foundational Digital ID system? 

Proving one’s identity is becoming increasingly important for gaining access to government services such as social protection. As more transactions move online, digital Identity verification systems are required to enable people to prove their identity remotely, without needing physical interaction securely.

According to the 2017 ID4D-Findex Survey, one-fifth of the poorest Filipinos were denied government services, and one-seventh were denied government financial assistance due to a lack of identification. The Digital ID is significant because many Filipinos do not have what is known locally as a “primary ID,” such as a passport or driver’s license. As a result, when they seek services from a municipality or a bank, they must present multiple physical documents, including a certified copy of a birth certificate, which creates barriers and costs.  

How does Digital Identity verification enable social protection in the Philippines? 

It backs the government’s efforts to create the transformational digital trilogy of digital ID, digital payments, and digital data governance. Citizens receiving government-to-person (G2P) payments can easily prove their identity using the national ID without a lengthy application process and with less paperwork through online digital document verification. They can receive benefits quickly and securely through digital channels without long travel and wait times. Program implementers can also use ID and interoperable information systems and databases to verify beneficiaries’ eligibility and enroll them in appropriate support programs. These efforts will save beneficiaries time, travel, and money when accessing government services.

What is a transformational Digital trilogy or Digital stack in simple terms?

The “Digital Stack” combines three core functions that are required for nearly all digital services: the ability to verify an individual’s identity (digital ID), send and receive money (digital payments), and verify specific details from authoritative databases (trusted data sharing). The idea behind a “Stack” is that these functions can be integrated to allow anyone – public or private – to build applications on top of them.

How has the shift from cash to digital payments affected Covid-19-affected populations?

The Philippine government used manual processes and physical cash delivery during the initial phase of the COVID-19 response, and such delivery mechanisms were quickly discovered to be unsafe and inefficient. Thus, efforts to shift cash transfers to digital payments were made in collaboration with financial service providers. As a result, access points were brought closer to beneficiaries, and the average travel and waiting time to cash out benefits was reduced by about 45 minutes (170.3 minutes in the manual payments and 126.6 minutes in the digital payments with a significant variation across different financial service providers and agents).

How does digital transformation help in ID and document verification in Philippines?

Beneficiaries of the DSWD are Filipinos who stand to benefit the most from having a digital ID. Many people can access government services more efficiently, with fewer direct and indirect costs, such as taking time off to obtain various documents to prove their identity.

Similarly, Digital ID allows DSWD to take its programs to the next level with better data, more beneficiary-centric processes, and reduced fraud and leakages. This will be game-changing for the Philippines’ poverty-eradication efforts.

What are the challenges in digital ecosystems?

Digital innovation necessitates changes in process, people, and technology. This means that business processes must be reimagined with a beneficiary-centered approach, digital ecosystem users’ capabilities must be enhanced, and digital technologies must be optimally utilized. However, digital innovations are frequently associated with upgrading IT equipment and digitizing existing processes. The inertia of business-as-usual has been a major bottleneck to digital innovation, and breaking it will be critical to success.

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