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SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau

Solon wants national ID for Filipinos
Writer: Dionisio P. Tubianosa, Media Relations Service
02 August 2013 08:32:10 AM

To cut red tape and increase productivity among Filipinos, a lawmaker is pushing to institutionalize a national information card to be known as the Filipino Identification Card (Filipino ID).

"This is one practical and doable way to facilitate and streamline government transactions," said Rep. Al Francis Bichara (2nd District, Albay), author of HB 11, referred to the Committee on Revision of Laws.

Bichara said the Filipino ID will serve as the official identification of a Filipino citizen whether residing in the Philippines or abroad, and can be used in both public and private transactions.

"We need to establish an efficient tool in upgrading the speed and quality of public service in the country," Bichara said.

The bill mandates the use of tamper-proof security material to protect the identity of cardholders from unwarranted and unauthorized access.

The idea of a national identification system, according to the author, has been proposed time and again in Congress due to the benefits that a unified information system would bring to the country and its citizens.

However, Bichara is not discounting the possible stiff opposition especially by human rights groups and other similar organizations fearing that this might be used by the State to violate the rights of individuals.

"To assuage this fear, the proposed law shall ensure that any information under the system will not be made available to third parties or entities but only under certain exceptional circumstances," Bichara assured.

The bill also provides that any information given in the system shall be considered as privileged and cannot be used as evidence against the holder in any criminal proceedings.

"I am confident that the inclusion of safety provisions will assure certain sectors that the ID card system will never be used by the State to blackmail its citizens," he stressed.

The bill mandates a ten-year validity and subject to renewal thereafter. The card shall also have the capability to store at least the biometric data of the individual cardholder.

The measure also provides that the application and issuance of the Filipino ID shall be initially free of charge as part of the government social service responsibility. However, the succeeding issuances shall be charged to the cardholder.