Implementation of useless ID card project a national disgrace, end it

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THE Philippine National ID system project, intended to give Filipinos an ID attesting to and symbolic of their citizenship, is a total disgrace to our nation. It is deeply flawed, among others, because it doesn’t even have the specimen signatures of the subject, which all cards, from your membership card in some club to your credit cards, have.

It is useless, and government can’t require private firms and even banks actually, despite the Bangko Sentral’s order, to recognize these. The P8 billion spent to produce these cards has been for naught. Stop its further implementation, which would cost another P10 billion.

My wife and I registered to get the card in 2020. I got mine three months ago; my wife hasn’t, and it’s already 2024. But I wasn’t overjoyed receiving it. In fact, I was shocked: the ID card delivered to me was a small “identification” printed on paper of a cheap grade, which was sent to me not even contained in an envelope.

The promised card (top), the card as delivered (bottom), and my ID as a citizen of the Republic of the Philippines.

And to think my colleague Victor Agustin blew his top two months ago, complaining that his handsome photo on his ID plastic card was fading away. My “ID” was a small piece of paper, which costs, I estimate, 50 centavos, a fraction of the cost of the ID cards costing P40, which, according to the terms of the P8 billion contract, was to be made by Allcard, a subsidiary of a US company.

My card was made of such cheap material that my cleaning woman probably thought it was a discarded receipt that she threw it away. I’m glad that I had taken a photo of it.

Mapa

National Statistician Claire Dennis Mapa — who heads the Philippine Statistics Office, the agency tasked to implement the ID system — said in a hearing in September last year that out of the 81 million Filipinos who had registered for the card, only 39.7 million received their cards. Mapa should disclose how many plastic cards the PSA has issued and how many were printed on paper, which is so easily copied.

The card had a note saying it could be verified at the PSA sub-site verifyphlsys.gov.ph. No, it can’t. I’ve tried 12 times to verify my ID. The QR code just sends a message: “No usable data found.” Somebody must have scrimped on contracting your webmaster.

Surigao del Norte 2nd District Rep. Robert Ace Barbers last week said that “without a specimen signature on it, the Philippine National ID has apparently been rendered useless as a proof of identity for its owner because it does not bear the holder’s signature.”

While there are penalties against those who refuse to honor the national ID as a valid proof of identity, the congressman pointed out that “[the] simple inconvenience of a missing signature — as against those that can be found in passports, driver’s licenses or other valid IDs — makes the national ID an inferior form of proof of identity.”

The PSA hasn’t explained why it issued paper IDs. If Mapa thought it was a way of mitigating outrage over the delays in issuing the real ID, which is on sealed plastic, that was a very stupid mistake. Plastic cards have an inherent security feature as tampering with it would involve peeling off the plastic, which would be evident.

Hacker

Now, even a teenage hacker can replace a photo of the ID with his, change the address, xerox it and laminate it. Voila, an ID is as good as what the PSA issued. How can the PSA be so stupid?

What shocks me is that the PSA and the BSP, the two government agencies in charge of this project, have been known for decades as the “islands of excellence” in the bureaucracy and the least corrupt. How can they have screwed up this project this much? In contrast, the Land Transportation Office, known to still have huge “islands of corruption,” has been regularly issuing driver’s licenses year after year and, except for a few instances, has been able to deliver them on time. And the driver’s license has become one of the most accepted IDs in the country, the one usually accepted by banks.

The PSA has blamed the fiasco on the company it contracted to make the cards, Allcard. “A BSP official in a congress hearing said that BSP’s original target was to print 126,000 cards per day but this figure was drastically changed due to QR code change. We made adjustments in the QR code, and it slowed down at 80,000 cards per day,” it was reported.

I hope the initiative of a citizen’s group — and assuming its motives are genuine — uncovers this mess that is really an embarrassment for the nation, and the guilty are thrown in jail. Al Vitangcol, a colleague in this paper, wrote in a recent column that the citizen’s group called Crimes and Corruption Watch International (CCWII) has filed a graft case with the Ombudsman against officials of the BSP (both its incumbent governor Eli Remolona and his predecessor Benjamin Diokno), PSA head Claire Dennis Mapa, and the board of directors of Allcard, the project contractor.

BSP

Asked to comment, BSP general counsel Elmore Capule said: “We have not received a copy of the complaint that Mr. Vitangcol discussed in his article so cannot comment on the same. Rest assured that the BSP will respond in the proper venue after formal receipt of the complaint.”

CCWII alleged that for the duration of the Philippine Identification System project, several delays, “deficiencies and irregularities in the production of the 116 million Philippine Identification Cards undertaken by the BSP, with the concurrence of PSA,” and with the direct participation of the named respondents, were publicly exposed.

“Aside from the more than 50 percent delivery delays, CCWII claimed that Allcard produced inferior PhilID cards, which violated the terms of reference (TOR) of the project. Based on the TOR, respondent Allcard should produce and personalize the PhilID card with a colored photograph on the cards through a combination of laser engraving (black and white or monochrome) and superimposed with digital colored printing/drop-on-demand (DOD) technology.”

However, the citizen’s group said, “Respondent Allcard failed to follow this and instead produced only the digitally colored photograph using the DOD technology, resulting in its easily erasable state. Respondent Allcard failed to perform laser engraving — contrary to the requirements of the TOR. Worse, public respondents from the BSP and PSA approved and accepted such substandard outputs and deliveries. Without doubt, this is contrary to law.”

Allcard

According to the group, Allcard was supposed to produce and personalize at least 126,000 PhilID cards per day. Yet, their output was placed at a mere 80,000 cards per day, which was way below the required output. Again, the BSP and PSA allegedly approved and accepted such delayed deliveries.

Allcard had the gall in 2023 to bid for the contract to make the Land Transportation Office’s driver’s licenses. A blind item was even published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer’s infamous Biz Buzz rumor and PR section, quoting anonymous Allcard officials accusing LTO officials of bias. When that PR pressure tactic failed, it got a court to issue a temporary restraining order against the winning bidder, Banner Plastics Card Inc., stopping the LTO’s issuance of 3 million driver’s licenses.

It was only last March 25 that the government got the appellate court to lift the injunction.

Jeez! What kind of company is this Allcard? Who is its political patron, if there is one? I’m sure there is for it to be so brazen.


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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Cecille

    I hope you all have your head out of the sandbox. You are all being trained to be obedient slaves by the ruling elite, as they try to phase in their long-planned totalitarian society. It must pose some problems in a country with so many islands to control every individual. We have the same thing here in the US. They call it a “federal ID”. They already require you register your SIM cards, they threaten your life if you don’t submit to mandated (toxic) vaccinations. Have they offered you free cell phones yet if you are too poor to buy yourself one? They need you attached to a cell phone for better immediate control. The homeless people here are running around with the latest cell phone models courtesy of what the homeless think is a “benevolent” government. However, when they start demanding submitting to mandated vaccinations, etc. or they will take away your phone and stop your food stamps, etc., one hopefully starts to realize what is going on. The orchestrated distractions from various sources, i.e., the array of social influencers, “opposing” political groups, etc., are all meant to keep you from paying attention to what is really going on. One day soon, you will wake up and realize you are in Nazi, Germany, where the police and the military are acting like gestapos. Pay attention to Agenda 2030 of the UN (probably the biggest purveyor of human trafficking). I still remember as a kid committing into memory all these wonderful(not!) organizations, the UN, WHO, etc., not realizing they were the beginnings of the total control of humanity. Anyone depriving you of your basic human rights should never be tolerated by you. It is heart-breaking that majority of the population in the Philippines is impoverished and incapable of fighting off the tyranny. If you think the Vatican is on your side and you are still into kissing the Pope’s ring/hand, you really need to wake up. The control system is coming from all angles, including religion, financial, healthcare, etc. The ruling elite will continually orchestrate wars to make sure you never unite against the real enemy. Here again is worth watching:
    https://youtu.be/OEkgZtu_Q2Q

    https://youtu.be/d1bKyINKOPI

  2. Makaryo Salas

    signature and an embedded microchip is a must for a national ID card not just a QR code.

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