Published by the Visayan Daily Star
Editor-in-Chief & President
Bureau Chief, Dumaguete
MAJA P. DELY
|CARLOS ANTONIO L. LEONARDIA
Republic Act No. 11055 was signed on Monday by President Duterte, instituting a unified national ID system. The Philippine Identification System Act aims to create a single government-issued identification card called PhilID that all citizens and resident aliens in the Philippines can use in all transactions, whether with government institutions or private companies, requiring such an official identification document.
The PhilID will assign a unique, randomly generated and permanent number to every Filipino and resident alien registered in the system. The ID is not mandatory but those who get one, free of charge, will have personal details and biometrics collected and stored in the Philippine ID System, a centralized database established by law to house all vital information generated by the system. PhilSys will be managed and safeguarded by the Philippine Statistics Authority.
The benefits and advantages of a national ID system are obvious but there are also concerns regarding the potential of citizen’s privacy rights being violated, the possibility of data breaches similar to the hacking of the Commission on Elections database in March 2016 that compromised the personal data of around 55 million registered voters, and the danger that the system could be used as a tool for repression by the state.
A successfully implemented national ID system will benefit Filipinos by ensuring equal access to government services, cutting red tape, prevent corruption in public transactions, and increase government efficiency. But the true measure of its success is if it can improve trust in our government and for that to happen the stewards of the people’s data have to keep it safe, secure and away from the clutches of those who could use such powerful information for nefarious purposes.*