Philippines uses biometrics for welfare payments
25 February 2013 21:26 GMT

Fingerprint technology cleans up Philippine welfare access to payments

The Philippines’ Department of Social Welfare and Development has announced that a biometric payment system is being used to ensure cash grants are correctly distributed to beneficiaries in its Pantawid Pamilya program. The biometric system is now being used in the province of Maguindanao.

Pantawid Pamilya is a human development program run by the national government. It is also a social protection strategy that invests in the health and education of poor children age 0-14 years old. It is widely known as the Philippine conditional cash transfer program.

As of January 9, 2013, the national program had 3,843,502 household beneficiaries and operates in 1,605 cities and municipalities in 79 provinces in all 17 regions nationwide.

The biometric system uses fingerprint recognition to counter the reports of fraud and misrepresentation.

According to Secretary of Social Welfare and Development Corazon Juliano-Soliman, the system addresses numerous complaints that there are false grant claimants, tampered IDs and people holding other beneficiaries’ ATM cards.

With the new system, the identification and giving of grants to the beneficiaries will be more efficient, the government said. The system immediately displays the photo of the beneficiary and the amount of cash grant to be received after the biometric identification.

According to Soliman, the verification is also faster because the system is connected to the Compliance Verification System where the Department of Education and the Department of Health monitor attendance of children and Rural Health Unit (RHU) checkups.

As of 20 February, 81,201 out of 156,188 targeted beneficiaries in Maguindanao and 17,554 out of 80,177 targeted beneficiaries in Lanao del Sur have already registered in the biometric system.