MANILA, Philippines – Information technology experts have warned that the Philippines will not be able to effectively interconnect with its ASEAN neighbors once their economies are integrated unless the country starts structuring its IT network.

According to Allcard Philippines marketing manager Franz Reyes, 90 percent of Asian countries, the Middle East, Europe and the United States are already interconnected using smart card technology.

He explained that smart card technology is a revolutionary card solution that empowers the cardholder to enjoy the benefits of all government services.

Smart card technology, also referred to as “convenience” technology, allows the cardholder to connect with a smart card system. The system enables the user to interconnect to a widerange of services, including health care benefits, social insurance, bills payment and identification.

Asia-wide, the smart card technology is already in use in China, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. China is now on the process of issuing 900 million smart cards to its one billion population, while Taiwan already gave 23 million ID cards to its citizens who now enjoy hassle-free health care and other services.

Critical in the smart card system is the use and security of personal data. Region-wide, all ASEAN member countries have already integrated their systems to recognize the identities of citizens living in ASEAN countries through the smart card technology platform. Through the use of a powerful 32 kilobyte memory chip embedded and encrypted in a credit card-like smart ID, identity verification is fast and convenient.

The smart identification cards system is now being implemented in China, Taiwan, Singapore and recently in Kuwait. If Filipinos do not have smart identification cards, it would be hard for Filipinos to enter or even transact with countries having this system, Reyes emphasized.

Reyes added that one of the inconveniences if Filipinos do not utilize the smart card technology is entering an ASEAN country. It would be easier for an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) to get a worker’s permit and have his credentials verified if he is integrated with the smart card system. Likewise, in the ASEAN regional economy, every one who wants to deal with other ASEAN countries has to be connected to the regional system which uses the smart card technology infrastructure.

Reyes said all Filipinos should be taught how to use smart card technology not just for convenience but also to be able to freely enjoy the benefits of the proposed ASEAN regional economy.

Allcard is the leading innovator in smart card technology in the Philippines. Established in 2001, Allcard services nine out of 10 top banks in the Philippines and two out of three leading telecommunication companies. –Mary Ann Ll. Reyes (The Philippine Star)