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Duterte: Don’t fear the National ID

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Contrary to the belief of some group who are against the implementation of national ID because it can be used as a weapon to breach privacy and suppress civil liberties of others especially those who are critical to the administration, President Rodrigo Duterte assures the public that it will never happen.

 He introduced the Philippine Identification System Act and tried to reduce the unfounded concerns and fears about violation of privacy and suppress civil liberties.

 “Every Filipino must now secure a unique, permanent national identification number. This would cut red tape and reduce corruption, improve the delivery of basic services, and serve as a tool for keeping the public safe.He noted that several administrations have tried but failed to implement the law because of the apprehensions by some groups”, he explained.

“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,” he added.

“The information included in the Phil-ID (Philippine Identification System)are already in the possession of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) or the former NSO (National Statistics Office), GSIS (Government Service Insurance System), PhilHealth, Pag-IBIG Fund, Comelec (Commission on Elections) and other agencies that gather personal data,” Duterte said as he signed the Philippine Identification System Act at Malacañang.

Duterte said the PSA would work closely with the National Privacy Commission, Department of Information and Communications Technology and the multi-agency PhilSystem Policy and Coordination Council to address all privacy and security concerns.

“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,” the President said.

The law would also promote good governance, enhance governmental transactions and create a more conducive environment for trade and commerce, he added.

The Philippine Identification System (PhilSys) Act will establish a single and streamlined identification system in the country. Once implemented, users will have just one ID for all government transactions.

Meanwhile, Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said in a statement, “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. And 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. This streamlining of information makes it likewise harder to commit identity theft or fraud.”

Proponents of the national ID in the Senate assured the people that the law will protect citizens’ right to privacy while making transactions with the government and private entities easier.

Senator Ping Lacson the principal sponsor of the measure,aside from being a perennial author since his first term as senator in 2001 said, “The Republic Act 11055, which harmonizes and integrates the redundant government ID cards into a single system, would also help deter criminality.At long last, we now have a law that breaks the formidable barriers between government and the downtrodden and the poor due to the lack of identification”.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, also an author of the law, thanked Duterte for signing it. He reiterated the law would not affect data privacy as the pertinent provisions of the Data Privacy Act will still apply.

Another author of the law, Sen. Sonny Angara said, “the ID system will not only cut down bureaucratic red tape but also empower many Filipinos formerly without appropriate identification cards to access the formal financial system and open bank accounts”.

Under the bill, the National ID system dubbed PhilSys will have three components: the PhilSys Number (PSN), Phil-ID and PhilSys Registry.

The Chief of Philippine National Police General Oscar Albayalde welcomed the enactment of the national ID system and assures access by citizens to a wide-range of government services and privileges.“This much-awaited measure has become a necessity for any developing country to keep pace with global trends of technology in governance. An efficient national ID system offers benefits to practical applications in census, taxation, election registration, banking, travel documentation, social security, social welfare and other transactions with government agencies”.

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