SEN. Panfilo Lacson on Monday proposed the consolidation of all biometrics data already gathered by some government agencies to cut the costs in implementing the proposed national identification system.
The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said the government has to “start all over again” in terms of gathering biometrics. It 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.
The Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs headed by Lacson conducted a public hearing on 11 pending measures calling for the establishment of a national ID system.
Lacson said the Social Security System, Commission on Elections, Land Transportation Office, and the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) already spent public funds to “capture the biometrics of so many millions of Filipinos.”
“Baka p’wede i-consolidate, integrate, para makamenos sa gastos (Why not consolidate, integrate them to save
funds?)” Lacson said in an interview.
Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon agreed with Lacson.
He said the existing system of various agencies such as the SSS, GSIS, Comelec, Department of Foreign Affairs, and Philhealth, among others, can be used and integrated. In total, these agencies have covered about 93 percent of the population.
Drilon said the Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT) should take the lead in interoperatibility and interconnectivity systems.
For the initial phase, those 18 years old and above should be covered, which account to about 62.6 million Filipinos.
The senator allayed fears that the ID system would compromise the citizens’ rights to privacy, saying the bill’s main objective is to enhance the delivery of basic services in the country.
“We want to debunk for the record the claim that the bill may affect data privacy as the pertinent provisions of the Data Privacy Act will still apply,” Drilon said during the public hearing.
He explained that the measure should not be viewed as a threat to security as the bill’s main objective is “to ease transactions with government agencies.
“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.
The PSA, through Undersecretary Lisa Grace Bersales, also dispelled fears of a possible breach in privacy.
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.
Filipinos will be given a Common Reference Number (CRN) 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.
The CRN/ID can be used by a citizen when he or she transacts business in government agencies.