DAVAO CITY, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday signed into law the Philippine National Identification System Act which consolidates all government issued ID system into one.
The ID also known as the “Phil-id” shall be made of tamper-proof security material, store at least
the biometric data of the cardholder and also bear the owner’s photograph, name, birth date, gender, date of issue, and signature.
Filipino citizens and residents aliens should secure the single identification system.
Duterte, in a ceremony last Monday said that the ID system facilitate access to and delivery of effective and quality government services.
“This will not only enhance administrative governance, reduce corruption, curtail bureaucratic red tape, and promote the ease of doing business, but also avert fraudulent transactions, strengthen financial inclusion, and create a more secure environment for our people,” he added.
Dismissing public fears regarding privacy and security, Duterte ordered the Philippine Statistics Authority to work closely with the National Privacy Commission, the Department of Information and Communications Technology, and the multi-agency PhilSystem Policy and Coordination Council to address all concerns pertaining to privacy and security.
“There is therefore no basis at all for the apprehensions about the Phil-ID, unless of course that fear is based on anything that borders on illegal. If at all, the Phil-ID will even aid in our drive against the social menaces of poverty, corruption, and criminal issues, as well as terrorism and violent extremism,”he said.
In 1996, the National Computerized Identification Reference System issued by the Ramos administration was invalidated by the Supreme Court on two main grounds: “one, it is a usurpation of the power of Congress to legislate, and two, it impermissibly intrudes on our citizenry’s protected zone of privacy.”
However, Karapatan lambasted the new law describing it as a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
“The national ID system will be an underhanded maneuver to screen and monitor people. This law will be very much prone to abuse, considering that our bureaucracy is already littered with militarists and ex-generals who have proven their contempt for people’s rights. With billions already funneled to intelligence funds, this law will further fast-track government monitoring and even harassment of its citizens,” Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay said.
“As it is, surveillance and harassment is already at an unprecedented rate. Under the Duterte administration’s counterinsurgency program, this law is an open temptation for the power-hungry and bloodthirsty officials to intensify their pursuit and political persecution of political dissenters and government critics,” she said.
Karapatan cited that under the Duterte administration, 67,372 individuals were already subjected to various forms of threat, harassment, and intimidation.
Gabriela Women’s Party lawmakers said the National ID system is not a guarantee in availing government’s services when conditions such as shortage of public hospitals and health workers persists, decrease in the budgetary allocation for health and support, and profit driven social services.
The Department of Health will have a P12.3-billion cash-based budget cut under the proposed 2019 national budget.
Representatives Emmy de Jesus and Arlene Brosas likened it to a Big Brother state violating the people’s right to privacy, and making the people subjects of massive state surveillance and potential cybercrimes by unscrupulous contractors for the project.
The signing was made with the presentation of the President of the newly signed Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) to the various Moro front group leaders and Mindanao stakeholders. (davaotoday.com)