National ID proposal raises privacy concerns: Palace

By Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 02 2013 04:52 PM | Updated as of Aug 03 2013 12:52 AM

MANILA - Malacañang is proceeding cautiously on the proposal to institutionalize a national information card due to possible privacy concerns.

Asked to comment on the revival of a proposal to implement a national ID system, deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte cited the President's concerns over old proposals and the possibility that it may violate the people's right to privacy.

"Medyo meron pong agam-agam ang Pangulo d'yan, doon sa dating mga hubog at hugis ng mga proposals sa national ID system. Ang nabanggit po ng Pangulo ay medyo meron din po siyang agam-agam doon sa privacy aspect ng mga dating proposal," he said.

Albay 2nd District Rep. Al Francis Bichara has revived his proposal for a national ID system, saying the ID will serve as the official identification of a Filipino citizen whether residing in the Philippines or abroad, and can be used in both public and private transactions.

"We need to establish an efficient tool in upgrading the speed and quality of public service in the country," Bichara said in a statement.

The idea of a national identification system, according to the author, has been proposed time and again in Congress due to the benefits that a unified information system would bring to the country and its citizens.

However, Bichara is not discounting the possible stiff opposition especially by human rights groups and other similar organizations fearing that this might be used by the State to violate the rights of individuals.

"To assuage this fear, the proposed law shall ensure that any information under the system will not be made available to third parties or entities but only under certain exceptional circumstances," Bichara assured.

The bill also provides that any information given in the system shall be considered as privileged and cannot be used as evidence against the holder in any criminal proceedings.