Fleeting identity: Photos on national ID already peeled off


MONIQUE, not her real name, considered herself lucky that she did not experience prolonged delays in receiving her physical copy of the national ID or PhilID from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), unlike many others.

However, her relief turned to frustration when her PhilID deteriorated after just nearly a year of use, despite being touted as a lifetime or permanent document.

The PhilID, integral to the Philippine Identification System (PhilSys), aims to function as a lifelong card granting access to several benefits and services for PhilSys-registered individuals.

These benefits encompass streamlined access to government services, financial transactions, and social protection programs.

“Lipay unta ko nga wala ko nagpaabot gyud sa akoang ID, dili parehas sa uban. Pero akong ID man nuon dali kaayo napapas akoang nawng, hasta akong information,” she told SunStar Cebu on Monday, March 25, 2024.

(I was happy that I hadn’t waited too long for my ID to be delivered to me, unlike others. But my face and my information have too quickly been erased from the ID.)

The 20-year-old college student from Bogo City, Cebu said remittance centers refused to acknowledge her transaction using her national ID when she claims her allowance from her parents due to her photo and some of her details having peeled off.

So she considers the ID “not a great help and burdensome” instead of bringing convenience and help.


Chief Administrative Officer Edwina Carriaga of PSA 7 said people like Monique have nothing to worry about as they are eligible to receive a new PhilID for replacement.

Carriaga told SunStar Cebu that they had already received reported incidents of peeled off photo and information details of cardholders and already released replacements. However, she did not specify the numbers.

She said it remains free of charge, and individuals should report to their nearest PSA office, including field offices in provinces or their regional office situated at Gaisano Capital Mall on Colon St., Cebu City.

Upon reaching the office, the cardholder should present the peeled-off PhilID, complete a replacement form, and submit it to the registration supervisor while surrendering the ID.

Carriaga added that since the cardholder has already input her biometrics, such as her personal data and photo, as well as iris scans, she is not required to undergo them again.

The officer made it clear that there is no standard waiting period for the release of replacement ID cards, saying, “We cannot determine [the time frame] since replacement is a meticulous process and requires thorough processing, especially since the person was already issued an ID beforehand.”

A check with the PhilSys website shows that the problem of peeled-off photos surfaced even before this year, as the PSA announced in March 2023 that it had begun replacing PhilIDs with peeled off photos. In January 2024, it reiterated its call for those experiencing this problem to have their cards replaced.

Not all can apply

Carriaga said that at present, only those with damaged PhilIDs can apply for replacement, not those who have lost their ID.

A PhilID is deemed damaged or defective if its cover has been peeled off, if the photo is blurry or does not match the cardholder or if it has been erased out, resulting in the erasure of some entries.

According to a report by SunStar Cebu last March 15, the region’s PhilSys registration tally reached 6,521,136 as of Dec. 31, 2023.

In the region, Cebu leads with 4,140,045 registrations, followed by Negros Oriental with 1,150,746, Bohol with 1,139,677, and Siquijor with 90,668 registrations.

At least 4,343,723 PhilIDs (physical ID cards) have been issued, representing 66 percent of the total registered individuals, while 2,243,106 ePhilIDs have been issued.

The ePhilID enables more Filipinos to immediately access the benefits of PhilSys registration even without receiving the physical card. The ePhilID is the digital version of the PhilID.


President Rodrigo Duterte signed Republic Act 11055, also known as the Philippine Identification System Act, into law in August 2018. This mandated the production of the national ID as the government’s primary identification platform for all Filipino citizens and resident aliens, including foreigners who have resided in the Philippines for at least a year.

For Filipino citizens, the PhilID does not expire. But it will be renewed upon updating of demographic information and biometric information. In particular, children below five years old at the time of registration must update and have their biometrics recaptured when they reach 15 years old.

For resident aliens, the PhilID is valid for only a year. Renewal is annual.


According to an October 2020 report by a national media outlet, the multi-year implementation of the PhilSys and the national ID project would require the government to allocate nearly P27.8 billion.

National Statistician Dennis Mapa disclosed during a virtual press conference that the P27.8 billion would be allocated for various purposes, including hiring enumerators to collect census data door-to-door, procuring gadgets for data collection, implementing an automated biometric identification system, securing the services of a systems integrator, and reinforcing cybersecurity measures.

According to the PSA, PhilSys registration began in October 2020 with low-income households in 32 provinces considered at low risk for coronavirus disease 2019, as the Covid-19 pandemic was raging at the time. This involved PhilSys registration teams going house to house to collect the registrants’ demographic information.

The second step of the registration, which involved validating supporting documents and collecting biometric information like iris scans, fingerprints and photographs, started in January 2021.


No stories found.

Just in

No stories found.

Branded Content

No stories found.
SunStar Publishing Inc.