By Argyll Cyrus Geducos, August 7 2018; Manila Bulletin
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Malacañang assures the public has nothing to worry about when their personal information is consolidated in one database because there are laws that would protect their data.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made the assurance as President Duterte signed the much-anticipated Philippine ID System (PhilSys) in Malacañang Monday afternoon.
Roque, in his Monday press briefing, expressed confidence that the PhilSys would pass the test of constitutionality.
“I would like to assure the people that unlike the national ID bill which was earlier declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court because, in Ople v Executive Secretary, because there were no safeguards to protect the database, this time around, there is a privacy law and in the law itself, it specified that the government has the obligation to promote the data gathered because of the national ID system,” he said.
“That’s why we are confident that this time around it will pass the test of constitutionality,” he added.
According to the Palace official, the signing of the PhilSys forms part of the common legislative agenda of the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC).
“As we all know, the President is averse to bureaucratic red tape. Through PhilSys, we hope to improve efficiency and transparency of public services and promote ease of doing business,” he said.
“The Palace is pleased that millions of Filipinos will soon enjoy the benefits of the Philippine Identification System Act,” he added.
Roque also lauded the signing of the PhilSys as it would mean that people would no longer have to present or carry multiple IDs to prove his identity.
“For the ordinary Juan de la Cruz, the signing of this Act means that he will no longer have to present multiple identification cards simply to prove his identity,” he said.
The Palace official also said that having a national ID system in the country would help strengthen the national security and prevent a person’s identity from being stolen.
“This will, number one, promote national security po because we will have a database of all Filipinos,” Roque said.
“Number 2, this will prevent identity theft. Alam niyo naman po ngayon isa sa pinakamalaking problema natin ‘yung identity theft na nangyayari lalong-lalo na sa Internet (You know that identity theft is one of our biggest problems, especially over the Internet),” he added.
Duterte, during his visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia last year, addressed the desire of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) for the Philippines to have a national identification system just like in Saudi Arabia. He said then that it would be “good” to have a national ID in the country.
The proposed Filipino Identification System will consolidate all government-issued ID systems into one to improve government services and limit red tape in government transactions. It is also seen to lower costs, streamline transactions, and provide ease and convenience.
The first time it was proposed was during the time of former President Fidel Ramos in 1996 through Administrative Order 308 but was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court (SC).
The Philippine Statistics Authority will be spearheading the PhilSys Policy and Coordination Council (PSPCC) which would oversee the implementation of the PhilSys.
Other agencies forming part of the PSPCC are the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Department of Budget and Management (DBM), Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), Department of Finance (DOF), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of the Interior Local Government (DILG), National Privacy Commission (NPC), Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (Philhealth), Social Security System (SSS), and Philippine Postal Corporation (PHLPost).
According to the PSA, the PSPCC will convene to discuss plans for the implementation of the PhilSys.
The PSA will formulate the draft of the Implementing Rules and Regulations for consultation with the PSPCC members, Office of the Solicitor General, University of the Philippines Diliman-College of Law, and stakeholders before its issuance, as mandated by the PhilSys Law.
The Council will also be conducting a pilot implementation in selected regions in the Philippines. The pilot test aims to lay down the registration process prior to the full five-year implementation starting 2019.