August 06, 2018

Duterte Signs Free Centralized ID System for Filipinos and Expats into Law

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  • Data collection during government transactions can add unnecessary burden due to its repetitive process, more so in the validation of basic information. However, with the ratification of the Philippine Identification System Bill (PhilSys) by both the Senate and the House of Representatives on May, and with its signing into law today, August 6, the dilemma on the quality of government assistance can now be remedied.

    IMAGE Karl Norman Alonzo/ Presidential Photo

    Facets of the National ID System

    President Rodrigo Duterte, on Monday, signed into law the National ID system which aims to create a form of an integrated identification system, sufficient for government transactions which require valid government IDs. Said transactions include passport, driver’s license, bank account, and clearance applications, utilization of services from government agencies such as Home Development Mutual Fund (Pag-IBIG), Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (Philhealth), Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), and Social Security System (SSS), as well as for the purpose of employment and voting identification, among others.

    PhilSys. also allows all files and activities of individuals, regarding said transactions, to be amalgamated into the ID.

    This system differs from the Unified Multi-Purpose ID (UMID), which merges the four aforementioned government agency accounts into one, in that PhilSys. requires all citizens and expatriates of the country to apply for the National ID System, and is not exclusive only to members of the 4 agencies, which comprise less than 20% of the Philippine population since its 2010 launch, according to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).

    How the System Works

    The free registration of the National ID System will require you to provide both demographic and biometric data, which includes your full name, sex, birth date, birthplace,  as well as your home address. Residents will also be asked for iris and fingerprints scan, as well as for facial image identification. These will be the makings of the PhilID card, as well as a personal PhilSys. Number which should be valid for a lifetime.

    These data collected will be managed by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) with an added assistance from the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), who will both work hand-in-hand to ensure the protection of data, through the Republic Act 10173 or the Data Privacy Act of 2012.

    The Need for Concern

    The law, which is administered by the National Privacy Commission, likens one’s personal data to a personal property which should not be processed by any entity without approval from its owner. However, due to the rising technological advancements, concerns on data leakage and data hacks continue to arise, as the National ID System stores the history of transactions of its ID holder. In addition, it may also pave the way to a close surveillance from government agencies concerned with the nation’s security, this according to Jam Jacob, a professional lawyer whose forte lies in ICT and human rights.

    Nevertheless, “safeguards,” in the form of Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR), were ensured by Representative Sol Aragones, who co-authored the bill alongside sponsor and principal author, Senator Panfilo Lacson, as well as other authors of the Philippine Identification System.

    The signing of PhilSys went alongside the signing of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL), which aims to form a Bangsamoro region with a government led by a ceremonial leader called the Wali, leading alongside a chief minister.

    Written by: Chin Sanigan
    Sources: Inquirer.netRapplerRapper on State SurveillanceNational Privacy CommissionDepartment of Budget and ManagementRappler on National ID SystemMoney MaxBusiness World
    Images and Featured image grabbed from the Presidential Communications Operations Office 

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