Top economists urge Duterte to put up nat’l ID system
A GROUP of prominent economists has called on President-elect Rodrigo Duterte to implement a mass civil registration and put in place a national identification (ID) system as part of the agenda to advance inclusive growth and promote law and order.
In a statement, the Foundation for Economic Freedom (FEF)—an organization advocating market-friendly reforms, good governance, and economic and political liberty—said that mass civil registration and a national ID system would improve the delivery of government services and make the current system of governance more efficient.
Every Filipino must have a birth certificate registered with the National Statistics Office/ Philippine Statistics Authority, the FEF said.
“Presently, numerous Filipinos, many of whom are poor or live in far-flung areas, do not have official birth certificates registered with the NSO/PSA, and therefore suffer from lack of access to public and private services requiring birth certificates,” the group said.
“The government must ensure that no Filipino is without an official NSO/PSA birth certificate, which can be achieved by undertaking a mass civil registration.”
The FEF said a national ID system should be able to give each Filipino a unique national ID number, a tamper-proof ID card with appropriate personal and biometric information along with a citizen registry.
The FEF is chaired by former Finance Secretary Roberto de Ocampo. Its vice chair is Romy Bernardo while its president is Calixto Chikiamco. FEF senior advisers include former Prime Minister/Finance Minister Cesar Virata and former Economic Planning Minister Gerardo Sicat. Board members include Anthony Abad, Art Corpuz, Eduardo Gana, Felipe Medalla, Vaugh Montes, Simon Paterno, Perry Pe and Gloria Tan-Climaco.
“We also call on the incoming Duterte administration to work with Congress to immediately pass a national ID system bill that would not only provide each Filipino with an official government ID, but also address serious and valid concerns with respect to security, integrity and privacy of personal information,” the FEF said.
“The government must ensure that the database of a national ID system must be secure and not susceptible to hacking as happened in the recent ComeLeak mess,” the group said.
The FEF was referring to the hacking of the Commission on Election (Comelec) website that put sensitive personal data of about 55 million registered Filipino voters at risk.
Although the Comelec has adopted a biometrics-based ID system, the country has not yet institutionalized a national ID system.
Human rights advocates and militant groups fear the introduction of such a national ID system would violate a citizen’s intrinsic right to privacy and would be prone to abuse by the state.