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Duterte to sign ID system law

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By Argyll Cyrus Geducos

President Duterte is expected to sign the Philippine Identification System Act (PhilSys) today which aims to improve the delivery of government services to the people and reduce fraudulent transactions.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte (RICHARD MADELO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte
(RICHARD MADELO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Duterte is signing the measure after the bill was ratified in the Congress in May this year.

Based on the media advisory issued by Malacañang’s media relations office, the signing of the PhilSys will take place in Malacañang at 3:30 p.m. before the ceremonial signing or presentation of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL).

Presidential Legislative Liaison Office (PLLO) chief Adelino Sitoy confirmed Sunday evening that President Duterte will sign the measure today.

“The Philippine Identification System (PhilSys) is the government’s central identification platform. In a nutshell, it is a means to simplify public and private transactions,” he said in a statement.

“Proponents of the national ID system said that it can greatly improve the delivery of government services – especially for those who lack proper government-issued identification cards as a person’s record in the PhilSys would be valid and sufficient proof of identity,” he added.

“It also aims to reduce corruption and curtail bureaucratic red tape, prevent fraudulent transactions, and ease doing business in the Philippines,” he continued.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque earlier assured that Duterte will sign the PhilSys due to the overwhelming support for a national ID system.

“This landmark bill is part of the legislative priority agenda of the Duterte administration to improve the delivery of government services; thus, once ratified, the President will sign this into law,” he said.

“There was an overwhelming consensus for the need for the national ID system… And there’s already a budget allotted in the 2018 national budget for the national ID,” he added.

Duterte, during his visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia last year, addressed the desire of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) for the Philippines to have a national identification system just like in Saudi Arabia. He said then that it would be “good” to have a national ID in the country.

The proposed Filipino Identification System will consolidate all government-issued ID systems into one to improve government services and limit red tape in government transactions. It is also seen to lower costs, streamline transactions, and provide ease and convenience.

The first time it was proposed was during the time of former President Fidel Ramos in 1996 through Administrative Order 308 but was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court (SC).

In 2005, former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo mandated government agencies, through Executive Order 420, to streamline and harmonize their ID systems under a Unified Multi-Purpose Identification System. The SC this time upheld the legality of the said EO.

However, the opposition to the proposal revolves on the perceived threat to security and violation of privacy by the government’s collection of personal information.

Consolidated ID

Once Duterte signs the measure, the national ID system will be managed by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

The system will collect a person’s reference number and basic information, biometrics, voter’s ID, Philippine passport number, taxpayer’s identification number (TIN), Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) number, and driver’s license number, among others.

A person’s personal data, however, can only be released upon the consent of the registered person. Information can also only be disclosed if a matter of public health and safety is concerned.

A court order may also prompt the disclosure of information; and when the registered person requests access to his information and record history, subject to the guidelines issued by the PSA.

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