By Antonio L. Colina IV, August 7 2018; MindaNews


Image Credit to Rappler

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 07 Aug) — There is nothing to worry about the law on a national identification system, President Rodrigo Duterte said as he allayed concerns that  it would be used to violate one’s 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 to illegal,” Duterte said during the signing of Philippine Identification System Act and presentation of signed Bangsamoro Organic Law on Monday at the Malacañan Palace.

The President said the information that would be included in the Philippine ID would be the same information provided in the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), Government Service Insurance System, Philhealth, Home Development Mutual Fund or Pag-IBIG Fund, and Commission on Elections.

He added the PSA will work with the National Privacy Commission, Department of Information and Communications Technology, and the multi-agency PhilSystem Policy and Coordination Council (PSPCC) to address all concerns pertaining to privacy and security.

He said Philippine IDs, which will be issued to citizens and resident aliens, will eliminate the need to present multiple IDs for different government transactions that will enhance administrative governance, reduce corruption, curtail bureaucratic red tape, promote the ease of doing business avert fraudulent transactions, strengthen financial inclusion, and create a more secure environment for Filipinos.

“Several administrations before me have tried but failed to implement this very important measure, partly because of the apprehensions peddled by some groups about privacy and data security, among others,” he said.

The President  said the single national ID will “aid in our drive against the social menaces of poverty, corruption and criminal issues, as well as terrorism and violent extremism.”

In a press statement, Gabriela party-list said that contrary to the assurance of President Duterte that the national ID system will gather existing information in various IDs, the new identification system “will actually collect the record history of all citizens.”

:This means that every transaction with government offices, banks, and other private entities will be recorded in the database, and with this, a behavior pattern is established. This is an ominous feature of a Big Brother state. This gravely violates the people’s right to privacy, and makes us subjects of massive state surveillance and potential cybercrimes by unscrupulous contractors for the project,” it said.

The statement said the establishment of a national ID system “raises the specter of intensified surveillance, harassment and crackdown on activists and opposition” and “perfectly fits into the dictatorial design of the Duterte regime, which have consistently shown its dangerous intolerance to dissent.”

In a press release psoted on cbcpnews.net on Tuesday, Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo, who chairs theCommission on the Laity of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), called on the public to be vigilant to protect society and the people’s privacy rights.

“Let us hope for the best (that) this law will not be abused,” he said.

Bishop Ruperto Santos, who heads the CBCP’s Commission on Migrants and Itinerant People, said he hopes the law would be helpful to the overseas Filipino workers and help assist them properly for their needs at different agencies against bribery and red tape.

Dr. Lisa Grace S. Bersales, national statistician and Civil Registrar General, said the PSA will conduct a pilot implementation in selected regions in the Philippines in the coming months, which aims “to lay down the registration process prior to the full five-year implementation starting 2019.”

She said National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) secretary Ernesto Pernia, who chairs the PSPCC, will convene the council to discuss the implementation of the national ID system.

The PSPCC is composed of PSA, NEDA, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Departments of Budget and Management,  Information and Communications Technology, Finance, Social Welfare and Development, Interior Local Government, National Privacy Commission, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, Government Service Insurance System, Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, Social Security System and Philippine Postal Corporation.

She said 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. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MIndaNews)