House passes bill mandating nat’l ID
The House of Representatives passed on Friday a bill creating a national identification (ID) system that critics described as a blow to Filipinos’ privacy rights.
By a 142-7 vote, the 293-member chamber approved House Bill (HB) No. 6221 on the third and final reading, requiring all Filipinos 18 years and older to secure an ID card under the Filipino Identification System (FilSys).
The bill’s proponents, including former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, said FilSys would help cut red tape and combat terrorism.
But its critics said FilSys would again make Filipinos vulnerable to computer hackers, like the 2016 breach of the Commission on Elections database involving 55 million voters.
Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate said FilSys could even be used to suppress people’s civil rights.
Zarate said the House’s Makabayan bloc consulted with information technology professionals who agreed the bill would endanger Filipinos’ personal data and could also be used to violate rights.
“If House Bill 6221 becomes law, the state’s intrusion into the private lives of each Filipino citizen shall have no equal around the world,” ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio said.
Under the proposed FilSys, all Filipinos will be required to secure a “Filipino ID card” containing three sets of information.
Under HB 6221, the first set will appear on the card itself. The second on the smart chip embedded in the card, and the third in an electronic database to be kept and administered by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).
A PSA-administered database will also keep a so-called “certificate reference numbers” covering births and marriages as well as other “relevant” information to “prove filiation,” including paternity, maternity and legitimacy or illegitimacy of a child.
The database will also include other personal data, such as the voter’s identification number, Philippine passport number, PhilHealth membership number, Professional Regulation Commission registration number, social security number, driver’s license number, Pagibig membership number and “such other information as the pertinent authorities may require.”
Former President Arroyo said FilSys “will go a long way towards addressing one of the causes of red tape in our bureaucracy and the costly redundancies that Filipinos have to go through just to prove their identities.”
The ID card may be used for acknowledging any document before a notary public; taking an oath of office upon election or appointment to any position in the government service; applying for and receiving any license, certificate or permit from any public authority; paying any tax or fee, or receiving any money sourced from any public fund; entering into any other transaction with a government agency or office.
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