Bill on National ID system soon to be enacted

 

By Rose de la Cruz

 

Talked about for over 20 years ago, the planned National Identification System (NIS) may soon become a reality with the Senate now on its second hearing for the measure and a P25 billion budget planned for it for the next five years.

 

At the breakfast forum in Lido Restaurant, QC, resource persons spoke about the benefit of having a national ID system in containing incursions of terrorist elements in the country, a speedier prosecution of criminal cases and the personal ease of citizens in transacting business with government and private businesses as only one ID would be required.

 

Among the panellists were Edgar Fajutagana, technical staff of the Philippine Statistics Authority, Atty. Manny Luna, legal counsel of the Volunteers against Crime and Corruption (VACC), Atty. Ivy Grace Torres Villasoto, chief of the Policy division of the National Privacy Commission, C/Insp. Bryan Gregorio, technical assistant, PIO of the Philippine National Police and Engr. Alberto Suansing, former chief of the Land Transportation Office and LTFRB.

 

The proposed ID system would have full name, address, birthdate and birthplace, citizenship (email address and phone numbers are optional) , signature and biometrics (iris, fingerprint and facial).

 

With these features, it is said, the true identity of a person, even those that have had sex change and plastic surgery, would be established.

 

The program would be led by the PSA—who will keep the national data files of the country—would also link up with current ID systems of government particularly those issued by the Social Security System, Government Service Insurance System, Philhealth, the Bureau of Internal Revenue and the PagIbig.

 

There would be data sharing and interconnectivity among these agencies and the IDs would be given a computer-generated number, where a person would be identified using his ID number in all his transactions, explained Fajutagana.

 

Concerns, however, linger about full-proofing the data security of the national ID system and this was voiced by Villasoto who stressed that “we must do our best to protect the system against internal and external data theft by hackers.”

 

What we promise about this system is that instead of carrying so many IDs in your wallet, you need to bring only your national ID in transacting with any private or public office. For this the banks, through the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, will also be enjoined to also recognize the national ID as the single most important personal document to be required of their clients, said Villasoto.

 

As early as December 2017, Senator Panfilo Lacson said the upper chamber is expected to pass the National ID law by 2018 and people are optimistic that it would take effect this year, hopefully in time for the Barangay election or the 2019 polls.

 

Lacson said the National ID system would enhance the delivery of basic services to the public and prevent crimes and expedite transactions in the private sector. For now, the Philippines is still “primitive” in that it is one of the few countries that still does not have national ID cards.

Apart from Metro Manila and urban centers, the national ID system might face difficulty in implementation with those in the remotest areas of the country; the indigenous peoples; the rebel groups (who do not recognize any government outside of theirs), and some religious sectors (particularly the Muslims, except those who were educated, who do not believe in registering their births and deaths).

 

The national ID system, first proposed during the time of President Ramos, did not at first sit well with the population who claimed that this could be used for profiling the citizenry by political or religious beliefs and those that suspected this could be used as an instrument by politicians or businesses to further their interests.

 

Many have argued that the information disclosed in the national ID card could be stolen or hacked by persons or states with dubious intentions.

 

As C/Insp. Gregorio said this system is long overdue and should have been done 20 or more years ago.

 

 

 

 

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