DFA asks for more time to probe passport data mess


Posted at Jan 16 2019 12:44 PM | Updated as of Jan 16 2019 10:28 PM

MANILA - The Department of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday asked the National Privacy Commission for 10 more days before giving details about the passport data mess revealed by Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin last week.

The NPC initially summoned DFA officials to a meeting on January 16 at 10 a.m., a week after Locsin tweeted that a "pissed" former government contractor involved in the production of passports "made off with data." 

"I, on behalf of the DFA, respectfully request that the proposed meeting be reset and scheduled ten days hence or or on or about January 25," DFA Data Privacy Officer Medardo Macaraig said in a letter addressed to the NPC dated January 15, 2019.

"This Department is still conducting an internal investigation on the matter and would like to be able to appear before the NPC with complete information in order to satisfactorily address NPC's queries," he said.

Despite its ongoing internal probe, Macaraig assured the NPC that there was "no data breach."

"There was no data breach because the DFA and the Asia Productivity Organization production unit, a government-owned and controlled corporation and a government printer, remain in custody and control of said data," he said.

"Data has not been shared or accessed by an unauthorized third party, which may use it for unfair or illicit purposes," he said.

Locsin had retracted his earlier statement that the passport contractor "took all" passport data, and said that the data was simply inaccessible but there was "no leak so far."

Aside from the NPC, several lawmakers have also sought an investigation over the passport data mess, and a review of the DFA's existing contracts.