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Solon slams govt’s revival of nat’l ID system
In The Press Posted on January 10th, 2010.
A party-list congressman who is vying to be a senator in the forthcoming elections has hit the government’s sudden resurrection of its push for the implementation of a national identification system that aims to envelop all State-issued IDs into one.
The proposal has had a hard time seeing implementation as it has been met with strong opposition from many sectors that fear that it would be used by the government to gain access to personal information that the individual IDs will hold and harass Arroyo administration dissidents.
Gabriela Women’s party-list Rep. Liza Maza yesterday assailed Malacañang’s revival of the “unified identification system” that the government is reportedly eyeing to implement this year with the signing in the first quarter of the memorandum of agreement among the private pension fund Social Security
System (SSS), the State pension fund Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), the government-owned Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) and the State-managed Home Development Mutual Fund, also known as the Pag-Ibig fund.
“The National ID system is Arroyo’s dog tag that will only serve her vested interests in the 2010 elections. (It) is repressive and unconstitutional and will not solve the problem of criminality, terrorism and the lack of access to social services in the country. Instead, it can be used to deprive anyone from availing of basic health services, education and even the right to travel for failure to produce a national ID card. Worse, any person can be presumed a fugitive or even a terrorist for failure to produce such ID,” Maza said.
According to the militant lawmaker, the unified ID scheme has already been rejected by the Filipino people in general as it infringes on their rights, particularly their right to privacy and movement.
Two years ago, Maza filed House Resolution 419 expressing her opposition to the government-proposed national ID system. In her resolution, she cited a Supreme Court ruling that declared the Administrative Order issued out in 1997 by then President Fidel Ramos mandating the implementation of a national ID system intrusive and unconstitutional on the grounds that the right to privacy is a fundamental right guaranteed by the Constitution and that such a move of national scope needs Congress’ approval before being instituted.
“Considering that government institutions, especially law enforcement and intelligence agencies, are wracked with scandals related to drugs, corruption, kidnapping, extortion and incompetence, the idea of a national ID card system is bound to be a tool for abuses and human rights violation,” Maza asserted.
She moreover said such an undertaking will be costly and will certainly be a strain on the national budget and, eventually, the Filipino people.
Malacañang, however, again allayed the concerns over the national unified ID system that the government plans to implement in March.
In a radio interview yesterday morning, deputy presidential spokesman Gary Olivar said there is nothing to be worried about over the national ID system as such fears are baseless.
He said such concerns are “voiced every time we talk about collection of information by government anywhere else” although those fears have no valid reason.
“This matter has been properly studied in terms of public benefits that we may expect to reap from it. Let us not forget the public benefits that can be derived from a unified ID system,” Olivar said.
He said one of the “pluses” of a unified ID system is that it will help identify owners of public utility vehicles that have no franchises, or those that are dubbed in the vernacular as colorum units.
“From our law enforcement’s point of view, it would help them in containing lawlessness and crimes like hunting for getaway vehicles used in a crime,” he added.
Olivar also said the timing of the eyed implementation of a national ID system has nothing to do with the synchronized national and local elections in May.
“It is not clear to me how the ID system will help give someone an advantage, assuming that politicians plan to use the ID system for their purpose,” he said.