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National ID system infringes on right to privacy – solons

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PRIVACY ISSUE Since 2005, critics have raised fears that the proposed ID systemwill
jeopardize the security of Filipinos and leave them vulnerable to violations of their privacy and
other rights. —INQUIRER PHOTO

Leftist lawmakers on Thursday again warned that the passage of the national identification system bill would pose threats to the country’s security and infringe on people’s privacy rights.

The House Makabayan bloc’s warning came after the bicameral conference committee approved on Tuesday night the bill seeking to establish the Philippine Identification System.

The proposed measure seeks to integrate multiple government IDs by establishing a single national identification system, to be known as the Philippine Identification System, or PhilSys.

Malacañang welcomed the approval by the Senate and House of Representatives’ bicameral conference committee of the bill, which presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said was a legislative priority of the administration.

Priority agenda

“This landmark bill is part of the legislative priority agenda of the Duterte administration to improve the delivery of government services,” he said.

The Philippine National Police also backed the bill, saying it “will be a big boost in fighting crime and terrorism.”

But leftist congressmen said that the bill could also be used to violate civil rights.

“This is an infringement of our right to privacy, right against surveillance and other forms of civil rights. That is why we are opposing this national ID system,” Gabriel Rep. Arlene Brosas said.

“That is additional ammunition for the Duterte administration that is wont to silence, harass and criminalize those who oppose its policies. They can use this for intensified surveillance,” Kabataan Rep. Sarah Elago said.

Data breach

Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate also suggested that the ID system could make Filipinos vulnerable to data breach.

“We know there are several breaches of information these days and it is also a big concern that the system will be operated by a foreign company, Unisys,” he said.

“It is not far-fetched that our data can be hacked and used for criminal or commercial purposes,” he added.

But Sen. Panfilo Lacson eased the congressmen’s fears as the Senate prepared to approve the measure on Monday.

“Do not be afraid of the national ID,” Lacson posted on his Twitter account. “It’s just like any of the 33 identification cards that we have. The difference is that it is the only one we need.”

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