Cogito Ergo Sum or Getting an ID in the Philippines that’s acceptable in banks et al.


In college Philo class, one line that most Ateneans never forget is cogito ergo sum, I think therefore I am. Were that sufficient in the present day world, one wouldn’t need an ID, but no, these days I wonder if I do exist in the eyes of government, banks, anywhere where an ID, no, make that two IDs that are government issued are required.

A few posts ago, I wrote of how Citibank Savings refused to allow me to open an account as I couldn’t present a government-issued ID. I have an old SSS card, but this was not considered valid. They want the newly issued ATM-card like SSS card. I told my sister this and she excitedly told me a few days later that passports could now be applied for online. One just had to pay P1500 and go to the DFA for 15 minutes for one’s thumb (finger?) print (prints). The service provider that allows you to have your birth, marriage and death (of your relatives, haha, not your own) certificate also facilitates the passport service. I was excited. Finally, I’d have a passport not for traveling but for ID purposes. A passport is always a preferred option of banks when they ask for IDs.

So I called the service provider and I was told I needed an SSS card or any government-issued ID. I felt like I was going around in circles, like a dog chasing its tail. So I called the SSS. Guess what? They also asked that I submit two valid IDs like a passport. Duhhhhhhh. Poor disabled me, I thought. But I pressed on and finally the girl said I could bring my birth certificate. I asked, what about marriage certificate? Ok rin, she said. I think she thought that because I earlier mentioned I was disabled that I couldn’t possibly have been married.

Will I ever get the two valid IDs — a passport and an SSS card? While processing for a passport takes two weeks, processing for an SSS card takes a month at least. Banks can issue ATM cards in 20 minutes. Another duhhhhhhh. But I haven’t yet answered the question, will I ever get the two valid IDs? One of these days, when I feel patient enough, I just might go to the SSS. Except that there are so many people lining up in the head office. Perhaps, I’ll try the Cubao branch where I called yesterday, except that their capturing machine (camera) is broken. Darn. Anyway…

Cogito ergo sum — Rene Descartes, it’s author, would be shocked: these days, it’s not enough to think that one is to be considered as existing. Rather, one needs two valid, government-issued IDs to be acknowledged as extant. For now then, it will have to be Edo ergo sum for me, I eat therefore I am… and I have proof, too much in fact…

I have company but for different reasons as the two cartoons below show:

4 thoughts on “Cogito Ergo Sum or Getting an ID in the Philippines that’s acceptable in banks et al.

  1. Hi Cathy. I wonder if in the course of getting our respective IDs our paths crossed. I also obsessed about establishing my existence by going the route: I got a barangay ID but this isn’t sufficient for some offices requiring 2 valid government IDs, I got a postal ID (that’s one down) and soon, hopefully, the mailman will bring my SSS ID. Mission passport is next, even if I have no plans to go abroad. Like I said, I’m obsessing about getting all the government-issued IDs I can lay my hands on. It’s good to know I have company. Thanks for your comments and for dropping by.

  2. This is a really nice post – got me all laughing this PM! I had the same sentiments – not being able to open a bank account just bec I don’t have two valid gov’t IDs, etceteras – until two weeks ago, I decided to go running after all those government IDs lest I’d be enduring more inconveniences in the future. Thanks for the nice laugh time!

  3. These days are a far cry from the past when reputation and face had values. Cards, plastic cards at that, rule. How sad, how impersonal. But I guess it’s inevitable???????

  4. Hay ambot. We have the same problem. I lost my SSS card (in the airport!) and since then, I’ve had a lot of headaches, the biggest of which is that I had not been able to get my teaching salary since July. The school asked me for my original E-1 form … which I lost 30+ years ago. And even if they have my SSS number (because I taught there briefly before I lost my way to the other school), they want to see my SSS card. I called SSS and they told me I have to go there for fingerprinting again which I don’t have the time for because the queues are too looooooooong and I hate to wait. So my salary will have to wait.

    Isn’t this frustrating?

    Oh and by the way, somebody told me that I better get my SSS ID or I’d not be able to make use of my Philhealth benefits when I need these.

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