June 19, 2018, 11:32 pm
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What are you afraid of? Lacson asks nat’l ID critics

Sen. Panfilo Lacson yesterday told lawmakers who are opposing the proposed establishment of a national ID system that information they will put in the proposed national identification card will be the same as they have been giving in applying for a driver’s license, a passport, or a voter’s ID.

Besides, a national ID is optional, he said.

The proposed measure seeks to integrate multiple government IDs by establishing a single national ID system, to be known as the Philippine ID System (PhilSys).

A bicameral conference committee passed the measure on Tuesday last week. The Senate is set to ratify today the landmark measure today.

The bill has been filed and re-filed since the Ramos administration.

Since a national ID system is one of the advocacies of Malacañang, the measure will be an enrolled bill that President Duterte is expected to sign. 

Lacson said he could not understand those opposing a national ID.

“Wala ba silang mga driver’s license? Wala ba silang mga passport o wala silang voter’s ID? (Don’t they have a driver’s license, passport or voter’s ID? The information that they will put in the national ID are the same information, including biometrics, facial image and iris scan. Why are they complaining when they underwent the same process?),” he said.

Lacson said rebels and criminals are opposing a national ID system because they will be identified as aliases would not be allowed in applying for an ID.

Leftist lawmakers have warned that the passage of the national ID system bill would pose threats to the country’s security and infringe on people’s privacy rights.

The communist National Democratic Front of the Philippines urged Filipinos to unite against the national ID system.

“The national ID system will practically be reviving the detested `cedula’ system which the Spanish colonial power used to control the movement of people and suppress their democratic rights,” the NDFP said in a statement.

The NDFP is negotiating a peace accord with the government to end the decades-long communist insurgency. President Duterte terminated the talks in November last year but ordered government negotiators last April to resume the negotiations.

The NDFP said the ID system is bound to be a “weapon of suppression, a weapon of mass monitoring and surveillance” especially against Duterte’s political critics.

“Duterte’s proposed system aims to collect an inclusive list of personal information in violation of civil rights. Duterte’s National ID system will be a deathblow to privacy rights. In the hands of a repressive and oppressive state, the collection of such information will surely be weaponized and used as a tool for mass surveillance, social, political and criminal profiling,” it said.

Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate has said the ID system could make Filipinos vulnerable to data breach.

Defending the proposal, Lacson said the information already stored in several government-issued IDs, which will be included in the national ID, will be secured from data breach.

“There are many safeguards,” Lacson said, stressing that the Philippine Statistics Authority which is the repository of information is not allowed to divulge the information without the consent of the owner of the ID.

He said 105 million of 109 million Filipinos stand to benefit from the national ID system as they would find it easier to transact business either with private or public offices.

Minors, including newborn babies, will be given temporary IDs. When they reach the age majority, they will be issued permanent IDs which they would carry until death. – With Victor Reyes
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