National ID system likely to be rolled out this year

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 24 2018 05:24 PM

MANILA - The proposed National ID system may finally be rolled out this year, after several attempts by previous administrations.

The House and Senate are both expected to ratify next week the bicameral conference committee report that harmonized the disagreeing provisions of their respective versions of the proposal. It will then be transmitted to President Rodrigo Duterte for signature.

The bicameral conference committee report was approved by both sides last Tuesday— the farthest that this proposal has come along in the legislative mill in its history. 

The bicameral committee last Tuesday agreed to include 13 sets of information in the final ID system: On its face, the PhilSys Number (PSN), the full name, sex, blood type, date of birth, place of birth, marital status, address and front facing photograph. 

The PhilSys registry will also have the name, sex, date of birth, place of birth, address, Filipino or resident alien, blood type, marital status, mobile number, email address and biometric data such as front facing photograph, full set of finger prints and iris scan.

Laguna Rep. Sol Aragones, chair of the House Population Committee which shepherded the bill, said lawmakers agreed to trim the House's proposal of about 60 pieces of information needed for the ID system.

“Mas simple kasi ang basic na sasagutin naman kailangan talaga una ang ID ba itong ay pag-aari ng taong nag-a-apply so yung basic information na yun, enough para patunayan, to authenticate na ikaw ang taong nag-apply,” she said.

She said there was a P2 billion budget allotted for its initial implementation. The system will first be rolled out in Metro Manila, CALABARZON, and Cordillera Administrative Region.

She expects the initial roll-out of the program this year with 1 million cardholders, prioritizing those from indigent families, senior citizens, or persons with disabilities.

The total cost for the the full roll out, which will begin next year and may take as long as 5 years, is expected to hit P30 billion, she said.

Filipinos can avail of this as early as time of birth, but this would be linked to their parents' as they would still not have their finger prints or pictures taken. This could be updated eventually at age 5 or 6, said Aragones.

She added, ID information can be updated anytime.

Every citizen or resident alien shall register personally in accredited registration centers nationwide such as the regional and provincial offices of the Philippine Statistics Authority, the local civil registration offices, the Government Service Insurance System, Social Security System, Philheath, PAG-IBIG, Philpost, Commission on Elections and other government-owned and controlled corporations that may be assigned by the PSA.

The final bill also enumerates the transactions where the ID maybe used: 

- application for eligibility and access to social welfare and benefits granted by the government, 
- application for services and benefits offered by the GSIS, SSS, Philhealth, HDMF and other government agencies,
- applications for passports and driver’s license, tax related transactions, registration and voting identification purposes, 
- admission to any government hospital, health center or similar institution, all other government transactions, 
- application for admission in schools, colleges, learning institutions and universities, whether public or private, 
- application and transaction for employment purposes, opening of bank accounts and other transactions with banks and other financial institutions,
- verification for criminal records and clearances and other transactions, uses and purposes that maybe defined in the implementing rules and regulations.

“Importante po itong Philippine ID system na tinatawag natin kasi gusto po nito gayon kasi sandamakmak ang ID na ginagamit natin ng bawat ahensiya ng gobyerno. Ngayon isa na lang, isang ID magagamit mo sa iba't ibang transaksyon sa gobyerno maging sa private kasi sa bangko usually ang hihingin sa atin 2 valid IDs," said Aragones.

"Magagamit din ang ID sa pagkuha ng social servcies pati sa DFA. Pag mag-apply ka ng passport, di mo na kailangan ng authenticated birth certificate, papakita mo na lang ang ID na ito para patunayan na ikaw yun, ikaw na yung indibidwal na nasa ID na yun na mag-apply,” she added.

Aragones said eventually, even if the ID card is not present, cardholders will be able to access their information as long as they know the number. 

Aragones also sought to dispel fears of the bill's critics.

”Unang una ito pong Philippine ID card na ito ay may security features na di natin pwede idetalye. Bukod po doon ay itong ID natin ito ay pinag-isipan at di pwede buksan kung walang court order. Pangalawa kung walang consent ng individual ay maari lamang itong buksan kung merong compelling interest ng safety at public health. Hindi basta-bsta pwede buksan, pinakaiingatan ang impromasyon dito," she said, adding that it would only contain "basic" information.

Malacañang guaranteed that Duterte will sign the bill into law as soon as it reaches his office.

"This landmark bill is part of the legislative priority agenda of the Duterte administration to improve the delivery of government services," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque told reporters.

"Once ratified, the President will sign this into law," he said.

CRITICISMS

Kabataan Party-list Rep. Sarah Elago said the national ID system might be used by this administration to stifle dissent.

"Dagdag bala yan sa Duterte administration na mahilig magpatahimik o manggipit at magtapak sa karapatan, mag-criminalize ng dissent o vocal na tumutol sa kanilang karapatan," she said.

"'Yan ay maaaring gamitin sa paniniktik sa mas pinaigiting na surveillance," she added.

Elago also disagreed with claims by proponents that this will help improve the delivery of basic services. 

“Di porket may ID makakakuha ka ng mga serbisyo ng ating gobyerno.”

Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate also believes data in the ID’s database will not be secure. 

“Hindi ito 100% na maipapaniguro ng gobyerno na mga data na nilagak natin sa Philippine Statistics Authority ay maproteksyunan. Alam naman natin napakaraming breach of information ngayon. Malaking usapin sa atin ang PSA, ang kanilang system are being oeprated by a foreign corporation, Unisys, na di malayo na itong ating mga information basic information, biometrics ay ma-hack and can be used sa ibang pamaraanan.”

Gabriela Rep. Arlene Brosas shared the same sentiment, saying this is not the solution for the people to receive government services more efficiently.

"Dapat ayusin yung mga pangangailangan talaga na basic services ng mga tao at di iyon kinakailangan ng ID. Lalagyan natin ng P2-billion funding ito, mag-a-allot pa tayo ng P2 billion funding para dito, samantalang nangangailangan na nga tayo ng basic services," she said.