DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Various groups expressed dismay over the recommendation of the bicameral conference committee of the House of Representatives and the Senate to proceed with the implementation of the National Identification (ID) system in the country.
The committee, on Tuesday evening, May 22 adopted the Senate version of the proposed Philippine Identification System Act of 2018, which was authored by Senator Panfilo Lacson.
The lawmakers are now eyeing to implement the law by the end of June this year.
ACT Teachers Representatives Antonio Tinio and France Castro said the measure will become a tool of the Duterte administration in “signing away the right of Filipinos to privacy and is another step closer for the Philippines to become a police state.”
In a statement they issued on Thursday, ACT Partylist said the national ID system mandates the establishment of a Filipino Identification System and requires all Filipino citizens to provide personal information to the government in exchange for the so-called Filipino ID Card.
“The bill empowers the government to collect and retain from each and every Filipino citizen their personal information of exceptional scope and interest,” Tinio pointed out.
He added that information that the government will gather from individuals will include not only the basic personal data but also sensitive personal information such as biometrics by facial scan, fingerprints and other identifiable features.
Tinio said the sensitive information will be included upon the crafting of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the ID system law.
Castro said the bill is a threat to the right of privacy and will provide the government a powerful tool of surveillance, control, and repression over all citizens.
“With President Duterte’s emerging dictatorial rule, the deteriorating human rights situation, the increasing number of extrajudicial killings, martial law in Mindanao, a total war in the countryside, and the Duterte regime’s tyrannical rule, the bill may be used against those who criticize and oppose his policies,” she added.
The proposed law will also result to the deprivation of the basic social needs and discrimination against those who do not have the ID once the law is implemented, Tinio said.
Castro dismissed the claim that the ID system will provide easier access for the people to transact with the government.
She said delays in government transactions are caused by rampant corruption and red tape.
Tinio raised serious concerns about the country’s sovereignty and security when the ID system will push through.
“What is also alarming is that the proposed custodian of the giant database of sensitive personal information is the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) that entered into a questionable contract with a US-based firm called Unisys,” Tinio said.
A draconian measure
Human rights group Karapatan also condemned the passage of the National ID system at the bicameral committee of Congress, saying it is a “draconian” measure and should not be used to deny basic social services to all Filipinos.
In a statement on Thursday, the group said the proposed measure is designed to infringe on the citizens’ right to privacy, the right against surveillance and the right against government witch hunts against its so-called enemies and critics.
For its part, the the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) slammed the passage of the National ID system.
The group expressed fear that the law, once implemented, will turn out to be an additional ammunition in Duterte’s arsenal of tyrannical policies.
“The government wants to put a collar on every Filipino,” the KMP said in a statement on Thursday.
The group emphasized that progressive sectors and civil libertarians have long opposed and blocked the attempts of previous administrations to implement the National ID system.
“Now, under Duterte, all Marcosian policies are making a convenient resurrection,” KMP said. (davaotoday.com)