PH ID system to be rolled out this year

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 25) — Filipinos may soon do away with having to present different kinds of identification cards when transacting with the government or the private sector as Congress prepares to enact the the Philippine ID system bill by May 28.

After it is signed by President Rodrigo Duterte, officials implementing the law will initially roll out the cards to one million Filipinos before 2018 ends, beginning with persons with disability, senior citizens, and the poor.

Congress is eyeing the implementation of the system by the end of June. The bicameral conference committee composed of Senate and House members approved on Tuesday the bill establishing a national identification card system.

"Ngayon kasi sandamakmak ang ID na ginagamit natin ng bawat ahensya ng gobyerno, ngayon isa na lang. Isang ID ang magagamit mo sa transaksyon sa gobyerno maging sa private kasi sa bangko, usually hihingin satin 2 valid IDs, ngayon isang ID na lang," House Population Committee Chairperson Sol Aragones said on Thursday.

The Philippine Identification System or (PhilSys) ID will have 13 sets of information. It will bear the PhilSys number (PSN), full name, sex, blood type, date of birth, place of birth, marital status, and photo of the ID owner. More information will be stored in the PhilSys registry, such as mobile number, email address, and biometrics data, including full set of finger prints and iris scan.

Filipino citizens or resident aliens should register personally in accredited registration centers nationwide, such as the regional and provincial offices of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), local civil registration offices, GSIS, SSS, PhilHealth, Pag-IBIG, PhilPost, Commission on Elections, and other GOCCs assigned by the PSA.

However, some lawmakers expressed concern over data security.

"Malaking usapin sa atin ang Philippine Statistics Authority. Ang kanilang systems diyan ay being operated by a foreign corporation, Unisys na hindi malayo na itong ating mga information, basic information, ating biometrics, ay mahack and pwede magamit sa ibang kaparaanan,  criminal, commercial, or otherwise," Rep. Carlos Zarate of Bayan Muna party-list said.

They also fear that private information may be used to quell dissent.

"Dahil 'yan ay maaaring gamitin sa paniniktik, sa mas pinaigting na surveillance at repression noong mga nais pang magsalita at tumutol sa iba pang patakaran ng gobyerno," Kabataan party-list Rep. Sarah Elago said.

The bill's authors, however, said safeguards are in place to protect data privacy.

"Itong ID na ito ay talagang pinag-isipan at hindi pwede buksan kung walang court order at kung walang consent ng individual at maari lang buksan kung may compelling interest ng safety o public health," Aragones said.

The program will have an initial budget of  P2-billion this year, with Metro Manila, CALABARZON, and the Cordillera Autonomous Region as pilot areas.

Filipino citizens and resident aliens won't have to pay for the government-issued card.