Philippines: Electoral commission deletes some quantity of valid biometric voter registrations

Biometric data of early registrants lost – Comelec (InterAksyon)

Comelec spokesman James Jimenez did not say how much data had been lost, only acknowledging it was “not a very large number.”

He said they have written and otherwise informed affected voters “to come in and provide biometrics again.”

Biometric registration is mandatory for participation in the general election next year.

Philippines: Biometrics help Manila facilitate better flood control measures

Biometric census on informal settler families living along Manggahan Floodway has already been completed (Manila Bulletin)

Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Francis Tolentino said yesterday they have sent the list of identified informal settlers residing in eight identified priority waterways in Metro Manila who are scheduled to be relocated by next December.

Once shanties have been removed, the government can start with the flood-preventing projects which are hampered by the presence of illegal structures along the waterways.

The move is part of the flood control master plan in a bid to solve the perennial flood problems in the Metro Manila.

Philippines expands biometric law enforcement capabilities

Philippines: US donates two biometric machines to Immigration (Business Mirror)

Lawyer Maria Antonette Mangrobang, BI acting intelligence chief, said with the biometrics equipment the bureau will now to be able to build a wider and more reliable database of the illegal aliens and foreign fugitives wanted by immigration intelligence personnel.

He said, henceforth, the machine will be used to scan the fingerprints of all arrested aliens, and the data will be kept in a database along with their photographs.

Who’s in my country? That’s a tough one.

Philippines will deploy biometrics for documenting the arrival and departure of international travellers (FutureGov Asia)

BI Commissioner Ricardo David Jr said the programme will enhance the country’s border security and boost the agency’s capability to thwart the entry of foreign terrorists and other illegal aliens.

The new scheme involves the use of an ink-less device and digital camera in capturing the fingerprints and photographs of the foreign visitors.

Doing something like this is easier for some countries than others. The Philippines has some advantages and challenges. Advantages include the lack of land borders with other countries. Since it’s an archipelago, they can be pretty sure that no one is walking or driving there, so except for clandestine boat or plane landings, covering the sea- and airports takes care of it. But there are a surprising (to me) number of those, so the integration challenges are real.

Also relevant to integrating the entry and exit points is the percentage of international travelers who enter a country through one international travel node and depart the country from another.

The more nodes, the more travelers, the more complex the travel patterns of international visitors, all of these things place additional pressures on any sort of entry/exit system and these complexities don’t necessarily increase as a linear function.

Of course all of this has bearing on the United States which has every challenge there is. It’s not surprising that, biometrics or no biometrics, the US lacks a comprehensive integrated entry/exit system. A couple of good pilot projects might go a long way towards getting an idea of the exact scope of some of the challenges, though.

Philippines makes it official: biometric voter registration required for 2016 elections

Biometrics now in force to cleanse voters’ list (Manila Standard Today)

Voters who fail to submit for validation on or before the last day of filing of application for registration for purposes of the May 2016 elections shall be deactivated.

“It is the policy of the state to establish a clean, complete, permanent and updated list of voters through the adoption of biometric technology,” the new law read.

Mandatory Biometric Voter Registration Introduced in Philippines (Future Gov Asia)

The new law prohibits the use of the database of voter information for “any purpose other than for electoral exercises”, and requires the Comelec to keep the database secure.

Of course, we’ll await news of any plans for biometric voter verification.

Philippines moves closer to biometric national ID

National ID system hurdles 2nd reading (ABS-CBN News)

The proposed “Filipino Identification System Act” aims to reduce red tape in government, Bichara said.

“The bill will reduce costs and lessen the financial burden on both the government and the public brought about by the use of multiple ID cards and maintenance of redundant databases containing the same or related information,” he added.

Impressive voter registration numbers in the Philippines

The 52 million voters registered to vote in the upcoming Philippine elections is impressive because the previous peak voter enrollment of 51 million, was trimmed by four million after delisitng ineligible voters and the net 5 million additional voter registrations have been biometrically vetted for uniqueness.

Registered voters hit 52 million (ABS-CBN News)

For the country’s first automated polls in 2010, 50,653,828 voters registered.

“It’s not a net gain of one million, rather about five million because the (almost) 51 million in 2010 went down to 47 million after delisting. Now it went up again (to 52 million),” he said.

For the 2013 polls, the Comelec resumed the continuing registration of voters and validation of registration records for more than a year until last October.

During this period, the poll body also removed from their list voters who registered more than once by cross-matching their biometrics data using the Automated Fingerprint Identification System.

This resulted in the delisting of around five million voters, Jimenez said.

I can’t find anything that indicates the the Philippines are planning biometric voter verification at the polls, though.

Philippines: Fingerprint regulation of bus system gets positive review from local commuter

Biometric boosts (Malaya Business Insight)

I FELT like I was in the twilight zone last Friday and this Monday. Although there was some traffic, it wasn’t anything like the monstrous bottlenecks I experience every end and start of the work week.

It was a pleasant surprise actually and thanks to the Metro Manila Development Authority (paging Atty. Francis Tolentino).

The website Top Gear reported that MMDA “has rolled out an enhanced bus-dispatch system that not only regulates the number of public-utility buses on EDSA but also monitors the drivers manning them.”

It further reports that the “Bus Management and Dispatch System (BMDS) is the first bus-reduction program in the country that utilizes biometrics (through fingerprint-scanning) to identify and monitor PUB drivers, “ensuring the safety of commuters that patronize PUBs.”

Earlier post: Philippines: Manila development authority adopts fingerprint biometrics in bus dispatch and monitoring system

Philippines: Manila development authority adopts fingerprint biometrics in bus dispatch and monitoring system

UPDATED – January 31 below:

MMDA to begin biometrics-based bus monitoring system Jan. 31 (GMA News)

On Thursday, Jan. 31, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority will put in effect a biometric-based bus dispatch and monitoring system to regulate the number of public utility buses along EDSA.

The Bus Management and Dispatch System (BMDS), also monitors the drivers of these buses, the MMDA said Wednesday.

“Our aim is to instill discipline among PUB drivers and make them aware that we at the MMDA, together with other agencies, are capable of monitoring them, especially their driving behavior,” the MMDA website quoted chairman Francis Tolentino as saying.

According to the article, the new system meets several goals associated with the smooth running of the Manila bus system, a system that involves central coordination of many private providers. The new system seeks to better coordinate the providers to provide optimum service levels as demand changes and to better insure that the drivers don’t have too many outstanding traffic violations.

Finally, MMDA stops bus driver with 99 violations (Inquirer News)

Before he could be issued a ticket for his 100th traffic violation, this bus driver was told to keep off the road on the first day of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority’s (MMDA) Bus Management and Dispatch System (BMDS).

MMDA Assistant General Manager Emerson Carlos said the man, one of several drivers grounded on Thursday, was shown to have 99 unsettled traffic tickets.

Launched Thursday, the BMDS seeks to cut down the number of unsafe buses on the road by preventing public utility bus (PUB) drivers with previous traffic records from even driving out of their terminals.

Under the scheme, drivers have to undergo fingerprint or biometric scanning at designated dispatch terminals before they are given the go signal to ply their routes.

That didn’t take long! This and 284 other drivers were grounded on the first day of the new system’s operation.

It’s not clear that it was the fingerprint provision of the new program that caught out the bus driver with 99 unaddressed violations but it does give the reader a sense of the issues the MMDA is grappling with.

Citi unveils bank branch-in-a-box

Citi launches new ATM in Asia (Banking Business Review)

Citi has rolled out a new ATM in Asia, Citibank Express, which enables customers to perform nearly all banking jobs including opening accounts and applying for loans, cards and cashier’s checks, without visiting a branch.

New machines are already being installed in Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines, while installation at in-branch and out-of-branch locations across Asia and globally will follow later this year.

For customer identity authentication, the new machine is outfitted with an online banking connection, video-conferencing and biometric capability.

Malaysia & Singapore are already at the forefront of biometric deployments so it’s no surprise Citi is rolling out the machines there first.

Philippines: Consolidating biometric elections will have to wait until 2016

8M Voters Without Biometric Listing Can Vote – Senate Body (Manila Bulletin)

These voters could still cast their votes in 2013 because no consolidated bill has not been passed by the two chambers – Senate and the House of Representatives – of Congress and any enactment of a law on this biometrics issue would cover the 2016 elections, Pimentel said.

Still, for Philippine nationals supportive of more rigorous voter registration, 2013 might not be as bad as it sounds at first. According to the Bulletin, the 8 million records in question will be ‘deactivated’ from the voter rolls and re-activated if individuals apply for validation.

This article seems to be saying that there will be no recourse for those who haven’t registered using the biometric system.

Comelec chief clarifies stand on proposed biometrics system (Balita)

“I have always answered that I prefer it to take effect in 2016 as it would give the voters time to validate and that the 2013 polls is too close,” Brillantes said in his official Twitter account.

“If its effectivity will be in 2013, many voters with no biometrics may be disenfranchised since we can no longer reopen revalidation. My view, therefore, is consistent with that of Senators [Alan Peter] Cayetano and [Koko] Pimentel — only that my statements were unfortunately taken out of context,” he added.

ARMM, Philippines: Lack of Legal Framework Undermines Biometric Voter Exercise

Doubts raised ARMM can purge voters’ list (Yahoo – Philippines)

In another case of how good management and good technology need to be in the same place at the same time in order to make a real difference, an apparent legal oversight means that the process of disqualifying fraudulent voter registrations in the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao is to be so time consuming that it may be impossible to complete before the scheduled elections.

As far as I can tell, the laws governing the biometric voter registration in the ARMM don’t make any provision for rejecting multiple registrations. There also isn’t any mention of it being against the law to register multiple times. Given its electoral history it’s difficult to assume that local authorities can have been surprised by any of this.

The situation in the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao stands in stark contrast to Sierra Leone. See Woman Sentenced for Double Voter Registration.

More on Ghost Voter Registrants in ARMM

This detailed and wide ranging analysis of the fraud surrounding the voter rolls in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) at least ends on an optimistic note.

Expelling banshees (Inquirer News)

ARRM is haunted by phantom students, wraith-teachers, “even ghost schools in ghost barangays,” says Jamar Kulayan, who was appointed January. A Tausug, Kulayan found it had become practice in the region for teachers to bloat student-enrollee numbers.

There are 2,000 teachers in excess of 20,000 officially hired. “Names of teachers already dead, retired, or abroad were still listed.” They and continue drawing their salaries. A “Task Force on Moratorium of Abolition and Creation of Schools” is now operational.

The new final Book of Voters is still ahead. But a consensus on making honest elections the centerpiece of ARMM reforms exists, notes Institute for Autonomy and Governance’s Fr. Eliseo Mercado, OMI… The new technology of biometrics will be used to ensure honest polls.

If this drill succeeds, it’d be a fitting legacy for P-Noy, new ARRM officials and NGOs working to purge lists. Exorcising banshees is a welcome change.

This detailed and wide ranging analysis of the scope the fraud surrounding the voter rolls at least ends on an optimistic note. See: At Least the Kids Can’t Vote Twice in ARMM, Philippines

At Least the Kids Can’t Vote Twice in ARMM, Philippines

Biometrics do a good job at telling people apart, but they aren’t any good for determining an individual’s age independent of other reliable database information.

Fraud found in day 1 of Armm voters registration (Sun Star)

It was in Datu Odin Sinsuat that she first noticed the trend — teens below the voting age were in the registration centers accompanied by people claiming to be their parents and herded together by people who, when asked, confirmed to be barangay workers.

Kiram (not his real name) stood outside the classroom at the Taviran Elementary School that had been converted into a voting center. He was clutching three copies of voters registration form and waiting for his turn behind the voter registration machine — a finger scanner and web camera mounted on a computer that ran on special software.

De Villa, who was about to enter the classroom, saw Kiram and immediately asked for his age. He said he was 20 but gave the wrong birth year when pressed. A woman who immediately introduced herself as Kiram’s mother spoke up and said he was indeed 20 and was her third son.

This is the kind of story that causes the anti-biometrics crowd to say, “See I told you this stuff doesn’t prevent fraud in elections.” That’s true, as far as it goes. Nobody should be promising that biometrics prevent fraud in elections.

In the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) case, even though biometrics can’t keep individuals that are by law too young to vote off of the voter roles, the ID technology, properly applied, can prevent any person voting multiple times. That’s a good thing.

Biometric systems properly applied can drastically reduce the amount of fraud in elections. In elections, it’s important to ensure that the margin of error (including fraud) is less than the margin of victory. For example: A 1% error (or fraud) rate in one direction doesn’t translate to an electoral advantage in a 60%-40% election but a 5% illicit advantage makes all the difference in a 51%-49% election.

So, by helping to reduce fraud, biometrics can make it less likely that the margin of fraud will exceed the margin of victory in a given election.

Perfect is the enemy of Good. Return on Investment, not perfection, it the relevant metric.

Earlier posts on ARMM:
Philippines: Biometrics a Hot Topic in Autonomous Region
Philippines ARMM: Biometric Voter Registration Underway

Philippines: Biometric Voter Registration Underway Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM)

Comelec starts voters’ registration in ARMM (Inquirer News)

Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. said that they have started on Monday the 10-day voters’ registration period for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

He told Radyo Inquirer 990AM over an interview that they have finished deploying their registration teams and machines and have started registration at 8 a.m. save for remote islands which will start listing voters a bit later within the day.

APRIL 23, 2012: Philippines: Biometrics a Hot Topic in Autonomous Region

Philippines Health Care company introducing Face Recognition for patient ID

Maxicare eyeing wider network in provinces (Manila Times)

…Maxicare will begin the circulation of the enhanced feature card for health care that can also use as a cash card. It is named “My Maxicare lite” and uses Facial Biometrics that will help health establishments view a Maxicare member’s profile and medical records through facial biometric technology. This is a first of its kind in the Philippines.

Maxicare is now partnered with 27,000 accredited doctors and specialists, 1,000 hospitals and clinics and an about 3,500 dental experts nationwide.