House OKs national ID plan on 2nd reading

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 31 2017 05:49 PM

After intense interpellation among lawmakers, the House of Representatives approved on 2nd reading Wednesday night a bill on the National ID system.

Proponents of the bill agreed to amend the proposed measure by removing Sections 4 and 7, subsections 34 and 35 with respect to the entries on sensitive information.

On Thursday, opponents of the bill in the Makabayan bloc who interpellated the proponents during the plenary debate reiterated why they were against the bill.

ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio said he opposed the measure because it was a violation of people's right to privacy. 

"Kaya natin kinukwestyon at tinututulan dahil ang ID ay nakakabit sa database, tapos sa database na iyon, hindi lang simpleng identification ang hinihingi sayo kundi bukod sa biometric kasama ang iyong genetic records, DNA, educational records, medical, religious, ideological and philosophical beliefs," he said. 

"Kaya kung maipasa ang batas na ito, mawawalan na ng saysay ang “right to privacy.” Kasi lahat ng impormasyon kasama ang hindi hinihingi at hindi basta-basta ay maaring ibigay sa gobyerno o isuko," he added.

He also expressed concern that the information may be abused.

"Magiging sistema ito ng pag-monitor at pag-control o pagsupil sa taumbayan kung sakali. Madaling maabuso ito. Kaya dapat maging mapagbantay ang mamamayan," Tinio said.

Laguna 3rd District Rep. Sol Aragones, Chairperson of the Committee on Population and Family Relations, and Negros Oriental 3rd District Rep. Arnolfo Teves meanwhile defended the proposed measure for four hours from the interpellations of five partylist Representatives namely Carlos Isagani Zarate (Bayan Muna), Antonio Tinio and France Castro (ACT Teachers), Sarah Jane Elago (Kabataan), Arlene Brosas (Gabriela) and Ariel Casilao (Anakpawis).

Aragones and Teves allayed the partylist lawmakers' concerns on the bill's supposed invasion of privacy, and said it will instead help address terrorism because it could prevent the use of false identities, fraudulent transactions, and misrepresentations.

Aragones pointed out that FilSys will also simplify processes in public services, reduce redundancy and delay in government services and transactions, eliminate multiple government identification system, bring down administrative costs and expenses, promote greater convenience to the public, and facilitate private business, among others.

She also cited the successful implementation of national ID systems in other countries. It has been pointed out that the Philippines is one of the nine countries in the world that does not have a national ID system.

House Bill No. 6221, which substituted House Bills Nos. 12, 107, 171, 317, 368, 512, 523, 597, 696, 1267, 1687, 1711, 2001, 2167, 2338, 3425, 3448 and 4167, establishes the Philippine Identification System or FilSys. Former President and Pampanga Rep. Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is the author of HB No. 696.

Under the proposed measure, all Filipinos, 18 years old and above, both in the Philippines and abroad, are required to register under the FilSys. They will be issued a non-transferable FilID card with the corresponding Common Reference Number (CRN) which will be permanent.

The FilID shall serve as the official government-issued identification document of a cardholder in dealing with national government agencies, local government units (LGUs), government owned or controlled corporations (GOCCs) and government financial institutions (GFIs) as well as private entities and organizations. No other ID will be required.

The issuance of the FilID will be free of charge. The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) will manage the implementation of the system including its database in cooperation with the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and National Privacy Commission (NPC).

The proposed law penalizes a person who uses fraudulent information in the FilSys as well as disclose any information on the system without any authority. The bill will be submitted to the plenary on third and final reading in the coming days.