ARMM execs go slow on unified ID system for residents

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COTABATO CITY—Officials of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) are going slow on a plan to implement a program similar to the national ID system that had met criticism and outrage when the idea was broached in Metro Manila in the past.

ARMM officials said they wanted to develop an all-purpose “electronic cards (e-cards)” for residents of the region that would serve as their IDs.

Data about residents who would receive the e-cards would be taken from records of the government’s conditional cash transfer (CCT) program, which doles out up to P2,000 to each of the country’s poorest families on condition that they send their children to school and regular medical checkups.

Anwar Malang, ARMM interior secretary, said information in the e-cards should contain all government-generated data from the National Statistics Office, the Department of Education, Commission on Elections, Social Security System, Government Service Insurance System, Land Transportation Office and IDs issued by private employers.

ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman said the e-cards would be issued initially to beneficiaries of the CCT program.

Hataman said the purpose of the e-card is to make the implementation of the CCT “more transparent to avoid instances of duplication and graft and corruption.”

The government has been toying with the idea of a unified ID system supposedly to make it easier for individuals to transact with government agencies.

It has, however, always encountered criticism and opposition, especially from human rights groups that are saying it would become a tool for abuses by government security forces.

But Hataman said transgression on individual rights is farthest from their minds when they started thinking about the e-card for ARMM residents.

“We are looking at individual identification that electronically stores personal data and an all-access e-card in one, which you can use even in biometrics voting,” Malang said.

Pombain Karon Kader, assistant secretary of the ARMM’s Department of Social Welfare and Development, said the department is not so keen on the idea because of fears it would violate individual privacy. Nash B. Maulana, Inquirer Mindanao

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