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Ping confident National ID to become law; Bago mag-Sereno impeachment trial


The National ID bill is likely to become a law before the prospective impeachment trial of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, Sen. Panfilo Lacson said Tuesday.

Lacson said the Senate and House versions of the measure will be reconciled at the bicameral conference committee level shortly after Congress resumes session May 15.

“I will say with certainty that it will be enacted into law before the impeachment complaint is transmitted to the Senate, if it comes to that,” he said.

He noted Malacanang and various agencies under the executive branch are “four square” behind the measure.

These agencies include the Department of Budget and Management, Department of Finance and National Economic and Development Authority, he said.

“I don’t see any reason why it will not be passed soon,” Lacson said of the bill.

Last March 19, the Senate version of the bill sponsored by Lacson was approved on third and final reading in the Senate by a vote of 17 to 2.

The bill seeks to integrate and interconnect “countless and redundant” government-issued IDs with a National ID system.

Lacson, in sponsoring the bill, said the system would allow the public to “easily” transact with government and private institutions, as well as deter criminality.

Senate Bill No. 1738 seeks to institute a single official identification for all citizens and foreign residents in the country.

Presently, Lacson noted there are at least 33 different “functional” identification cards issued by various government agencies.

The huge number of government-issued IDs may lead to “duplication of efforts, wastage of resources, and uncoordinated identity approaches,” he added.

In contrast, Lacson said the National ID system will be foundational.

Lacson, who headed the Philippine National Police from 1999 to 2001, added the establishment of a National Reference System could help law enforcers deter criminality and terrorism by facilitating the processes of apprehension and prosecution.

Under the bill, a foundational ID system will be in place. This will have the PhilSys number, PhilID and PhilSys Registry.

The PhilSys Number is a randomly generated identification number for each individual, to be incorporated in all identification systems of government agencies.

PhilID is a non-transferable card with the PSN, full name, facial image, date of birth, address, and fingerprints of the bearer.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Statistics Authority is mandated to act as the PhilSys Registry.

To protect the individual’s right to privacy, Lacson said the PhilSys would only be released under the following conditions:
1. Upon the consent of the registered person, specific to the purpose prior to the processing;
2. Upon risk of public health and safety when relevant information may be disclosed, provided the risk of significant harm to the public is established and the owner of the information is notified within 72 hours of the fact of such disclosure;
3. Upon order of the court; and
4. When a registered person requests access to his or her registered information and record history, subject to the guidelines and regulations to be issued by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

Under the proposed measure, Lacson said, the PSA would act as the PhilSys Registry, a respository and custodian of all data including the PSN, registered records and information of all persons registered in the PhilSys.

The bill would also create a PhilSys Policy and Coordination Council (PSPCC) with the mandate to formulate policies and guidelines o ensure effective coordination and implementation of the PhilSys.

“An important feature of this proposed legislation is the concept of authentication or the process of verifying, whether online or offline, the identity of an individual against the registry information in the PhilSys or the PhilID,” said Lacson.

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