Online applications for the national ID under the Philippine Statistics Authority opened last Friday with some glitches due to over 40,000 applicants accessing the website in the first few minutes. "National ID" trend on Twitter that day, filled with complaints from thousands of Filipinos wanting to sign up.

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PhilSys, or the Philippine Identification System, aims to be a centralized national ID system for the Philippines. Under this database, every Filipino will have just one national ID that contains all their important information.

What exactly does a centralized ID system promise?

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Here's what getting a national ID means:

It's a catch-all ID

The PhilSys ID will contain the following: name, birthdate, blood type, address, gender, and even biometric information such as thumbprints and iris scans.

Each physical PhilSys ID will come with a corresponding PhilSys number. Think of this as your DNA-it is completely unique to you.

All you have to do is present your national ID or disclose your PhilSys number and it's immediate confirmation of your identity.

Fewer ID cards to present

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas enforces a KYC or know your customer policy. To combat forgery and identity theft, banks translated this to asking for two valid IDs, which can repel some Filipinos from opening accounts if they only have one ID on hand.

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Oftentimes, applying for another ID takes days or weeks, effectively deterring an individual from pursuing a savings account. Other legal documents-which you need to apply for another ID-often need two IDs to acquire, something you don't have in the first place which is why you're applying for a second ID.

The national ID card, which the BSP is tasked with printing, offers hope that the two-ID requirement can change due to the comprehensive information it stores, all protected by security features.

Physical and digital

IDs usually come as plastic cards that fit conveniently in your pocket or wallet. The PhilSys ID comes in physical ID format along with a digital ID you can use online.

Your PhilSys Card Number or PCN can also serve as proof of identity.

"You don't actually need to have a card in the future. You only need to have your PhilSys number. That can already be a proof of identity," Joyce Suficiencia, Director of the Inclusive Finance Advocacy Staff of the BSP, said in a Summit Sandwich Session.

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With just one ID or a string of numbers, bank accounts can be opened without worrying about getting another ID.

"Maibigay mo lang ang iyong PhilSys Card Number o PCN, sapat na ito bilang valid proof of identity para makapag-apply sa mga scholarship o loan, makapagbukas ng bank account, at iba pang serbisyo," the PSA said, citing the different ways you can use your PCN in the future.

Swifter and contactless distribution of financial aid during a pandemic or a national calamity is possible with the new ID system.

It's valid for life

"Ang PhilID ay valid for life. Wala itong expiration!" the Philippine Statistics Authority said in a Facebook post.

Unlike passports and driver's licenses that must be renewed every decade, the national ID is valid for as long as you're alive. Other IDs take your past travels and skills on the road into consideration, but you can have a national ID as long as you give the required information.

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This means one more day in the future saved from an ID renewal errand.

While it is valid for life, do keep in mind that you may have to edit or update information in cases of change of residence, change of name after marriage, or change of contact number.

Here's to hoping you never lose your physical ID, but in case you misplace it, you may have to apply for a physical one again should you need it.

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