The Senate is targeting the approval of the proposed national identification system by the first quarter of 2018, Senator Panfilo Lacson said Monday.
Lacson, one of the authors of the proposal and chairman of the Senate subcommittee on the national identification system, said the Philippines might as well be considered “primitive” for being one of the few countries that do not have national ID cards.
“I will make it a commitment to pass it at least sa first quarter,” Lacson said in an interview.
“Ang budget, I think the President now – the current administration is in full support, unlike in previous administrations na talagang bogged down lagi,” he said.
Apart from enchancing the delivery of basic services, Lacson explained that the national ID system can also be used to prevent crime, as well as for transactions with private institutions like banks.
Under his proposal, national IDs will not be mandatory. The House approved version however mandates all Filipinos residing in the Philippines or abroad, upon reaching 18 years of age, to register their personal data under the Filipino Identification System (FilSys).
Fully implementing a national ID system however will most likely take more than five years, Lacson said, as the Philippines does not have the needed technology yet.
“Depende sa technology available kasi minsan mapapadali kasi may mga agencies na nasa system na nila. It’s just a matter of integrating them into 1 system called the National ID system. Right now, the PSA (Philippine Statistics Authority), ‘yan ang agency in charge. But it takes a lot, kasi wala masyadong technical or IT capability ang PSA,” he said.
Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, also an author, meanwhile allayed fears that the proposal would compromise the citizens’ rights to privacy.
“There will be proper safeguards so as not to interfere with the individual’s right to privacy. It will also be ensured that unscrupulous persons will not have access to confidential information,” Drilon said.
Drilon said the data that are being proposed to be included in the national ID system would not be different from the information that are currently present in all government-issued IDs.
Drilon explained that a Common Reference Number (CRN) will be given to all Filipinos containing essential information such as full name, address, date and place of birth, sex, civil status, signature, CRN and date of card issuance, along with a recent photo.
He emphasized that the CRN/ID can be used by a citizen in transactions with all branches of the government, thereby making it more convenient for Filipinos to avail of government services.
“The Philippine Statistics Authority has committed to undertake the initial phase with a P2 billion budget for 2018. This will be used for biometrics, verification and issuance of the ID,” Drilon said.