Risa to DFA: Explain how contractor ‘made off’ with Pinoys’ passport data
Senator Risa Hontiveros on Saturday took the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to task after Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddy Boy Locsin admitted on Twitter that the previous contractor for issuing passports “made off with data” of Filipino passport holders.
“The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) owes the entire country an explanation,” Hontiveros said in a statement.
“The recent admission that a privately contracted firm took the entire physical database of all of the country’s passport holders indicates a serious national security risk, and is evidence of the Duterte government’s gross incompetence in protecting the people’s private data,” she said.
“Exactly what data were lost?” Hontiveros asked.
“When, how, and under whose watch did this happen? Where did the breakdown occur? Who exactly is the responsible firm? And why aren’t they being sued for running away with such vital information?” she said.
The controversy started when the DFA announced that people with older passports who were renewing their passports would need to bring their birth certificates as those on file had been lost to a previous contractor.
“Because previous contractor got pissed when terminated it made off with data. We did nothing about it or couldn’t because we were in the wrong,” Locsin tweeted.
“It won’t happen again. Passports pose national security issues and cannot be kept back by private entities. Data belongs to the state,” the official said.
But Hontiveros said the DFA should give an official explanation.
“The public needs to be reassured that the data will be retrieved completely and with the highest sense of urgency and priority. Apart from that, the people responsible for such a gross display of incompetence should be held fully responsible,” she said.
“The Duterte government has made a lot of promises about protecting our safety, our sovereignty and our territory. If we cannot trust it to protect our people’s documents, how can we trust it with anything else?” she said.