THE reported breach of passport data at the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) is a threat to the national security and identity of the Filipinos, Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Oscar Albayalde said on Monday.

"Not only [this is a] threat to national security but also on the threat of our identities of a lot of Filipinos who obtained their passports before because all of their information is there," he said in a mix of English and Filipino.

Albayalde said the PNP was willing to assist the DFA in retrieving the data if asked.

He listed the Anti-Cybercrime Group, the Information Technology Management Service, the Directorate for Information and Communications Technology Management, and the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group as the police agencies that could help.

"We still have no initial coordination with DFA. Probably, they are trying to resolve this on their level so we don't want to join the investigation unless the DFA will ask for our assistance," Albayalde said.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro "Teddy" Locsin Jr. admitted on his Twitter account that a private firm took the entire physical database of all Filipino passport holders after its contract with the DFA was not renewed.

Lacson’s disclosure stemmed from a query on Twitter as to why applicants for passport renewal have to bring their birth certificates.

Bringing a birth certificate was not initially necessary to renew passports as applicants must only show their old passport to get a new one.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said previously that the passport data breach was a "very grave" and "alarming" security concern.

Four senators and the National Privacy Commission (NPC) said they would investigate the controversy.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said that applicants must not be burdened with having to submit their birth certificate when renewing their passports just because the service provider lost relevant data.

“The submission of the old or current passport, which the applicant seeks to renew should suffice for the purpose. The ongoing practice is not only cumbersome to everyone affected but is a form of red tape which this administration frowns upon and will not tolerate,” he said. ROY NARRA