Who’s afraid of the national ID?
Who’s afraid of the national ID? PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 10 August 2018 12:13

LOOKING IN

BY ROD BALBON

Unless if one is a fugitive, a criminal, a communist insurgent, an ISIS member or an Abu Sayyaf, why go against the use of a national ID for transacting business with private and public offices?

The enactment of this Philippine Identification System Law (Philsys) is long overdue. Its passage is expected to ease and facilitate transactions with the use of only one single identification card instead of using numerous IDs.

This was first proposed during the Ramos administration. It did not prosper after numerous complaints and objections were raised, especially those from the Leftist Groups. This was declared by the Supreme Court as unconstitutional for lack of legislation.

Another attempt was made during the Arroyo administration, synchronizing all government issued IDs and called it the Unified Multi-Purpose Identification System (UMID). The UMID is still being used in selected government agencies like the GSIS and the SSS but it does not serve as a national ID. This was likewise declared unconstitutional because there was no safeguard to protect the people for security reasons.

This time, with the Duterte administration’s priority to improve the delivery of government services, the national ID system law was passed which is supported by the majority of the Filipinos (73% per latest SWS survey).

To disabuse the minds of those skeptical and against the passage of this national ID law, the information or data in the card will be no different from the data we give to issuing authorities when we apply for a driver’s license, wedding permit, birth certificate, and social legislation cards such as those of the GSIS, SSS, Philhealth, and Pag-ibig. It will authorize the collection of photographs taken from the front, full set of fingerprints, and iris scan and will contain the biometric basic information of the holder’s name, sex, date of birth, place of birth, and address. Thus, one will no longer have to present multiple ID cards to prove his identity.

The question of violation of one’s privacy is already addressed because there is already a privacy law that mandates the government to protect the data gathered. The law likewise contains a penal provision for anyone who’s found violating this.

The 20 or 25 million eligible to carry this card will have to go and register in the following data centers: the PSA Regional and Provincial Offices, Local Civil Registry Office, GSIS, SSS, Philhealth, Pag-ibig, Comelec and Philippine Postal Office.

Another very important argument for the issuance of a national ID, it will solve the problem of the 7.5 million Filipinos who don’t have birth certificates. An individual without or who cannot present a birth certificate can still register for a national ID by presenting alternative or additional documents to prove his or her identity, in cognizance of the reality that millions of Filipinos have no birth certificates.

The Leftists’ condemnation that it is reminiscent of the cedula system that the Spanish colonizers used to control the movement of the people, suppress their dissent and democratic rights, is a total non-sense and is not anymore applicable in this new millennium. Nor can this be deemed President Duterte’s weapon of suppression, mass monitoring and surveillance to track everyone’s movement.

This apprehension has no basis unless one fears to divulge his true identity due to illegal and criminal reasons.