MANILA - Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Zarate on Monday criticized the proposed national ID system, citing fears it could be used to silence critics of the administration and may be a possible threat to privacy.
"We believe that the national ID system is not the solution to, again, the failure or problem in the delivery of social services, even on the issue to deter the commission of crimes and even acts of terrorism," he said on ANC's "Talkback".
Zarate also said the proposed bill may create discrimination against the country's indigenous people.
"We believe that this will even create some sort of discrimination later on. Can you imagine the logistical requirement, for example, in Mindanao, our indigenous people, forcing them to get these biometrics and to obtain this ID," he said.
"What if, even if with these requirements now, they cannot obtain an ID, then they can't already avail services from the government? Is that what the government is saying?"
But for Muntinlupa Rep. Rozzano Rufino Biazon, who co-authored the bill, "the benefits outweigh the fears."
"One of the biggest selling point is having a database that would enable government to deliver service, to monitor the delivery of the service and for people to have easy access to provide identity with those they transact with whether it's for public or for private purposes," he said.
Biazon said the proposed bill will serve as a "principal tool of governance" and could also be used for security purposes.
"We just think that on the fears of surveillance, government will and can always have the ability to do that, but with an improvement in the system, in information, we can address a lot of concerns in society," he said.
Both houses of Congress are expected to ratify this week the Bicameral Conference Committee report that harmonized the House and Senate versions of the proposed measure.
The report included 13 sets of information in the final ID system: the PhilSys Number, the full name, sex, blood type, date of birth, place of birth, marital status, address and a front facing photo.