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Philippine Identification System empowers citizens to exercise rights and allows access to services

Philippine Identification System empowers citizens to exercise rights and allows access to services

An announcement made by the Philippine House of Representatives (Philippine Congress) highlighted the benefits of
establishing the Philippine Identification System (PhilSys, which include proof
of identity, empowerment to exercise rights and privileges as well as access to
vital services.

Education, social
protection, healthcare, banking and finance are some of the vital services that
can be accessed by the Filipinos once the Philippine Identification System
(PhilSys) is established, said one of the principal authors of the measure
creating a national identification system in the country.

“The PhilSys is particularly important for vulnerable sectors of our
population, like those who are marginalized and living in poverty and those living
in remote areas. Once they have the means to prove their identity, people will
be empowered to exercise their rights and privileges and access basic
services,” said Camiguin Representative Xavier Jesus D. Romualdo.

PhilSys is a single
national identification system for all citizens and resident aliens of the
Philippines. This unified system will promote seamless delivery of service,
improve the efficiency, transparency, and targeted delivery of public and
social services, and enhance administrative governance.

Moreover, the National ID
is expected to reduce corruption, curtail bureaucratic red tape, avert
fraudulent transactions and misrepresentations, strengthen financial inclusion,
and promote ease of doing business.

Every Filipino and resident
alien of the country shall be identified through the use of a unique and
permanent PhilSys Number (PSN), which is randomly generated. It shall be the
standard number assigned to each individual to be incorporated in all
identification systems of government agencies. 

According to the Identification for Development initiative of the World Bank, over 16.3 million
Filipinos do not have proof of identity and are hindered from availing of
government and financial services.

Concerns raised by critics against the national ID system involve infringement
on the rights and privacy of the citizens. 

Rep Romualdo, a member of the
bicameral conference committee, dispelled these by saying that Congress assures
only basic personal information will be stored in the PhilSys and this
information will be protected and kept confidential.

“Only one’s name, sex, address, date and place of birth, blood type, and
biometric data, such as facial photo and fingerprints, are required to be
entered in the PhilSys. Furthermore, disclosure of and granting access to
stored data and information to anyone, even to law enforcement agencies and the
military, is prohibited and penalised,” Rep Romualdo explained.

Disclosure of information,
according to the reconciled version of the bill, is only allowed when the
registered person has given his or her consent, specific to the purpose prior
to the processing.

Information can also be
disclosed upon order of a competent court, when the compelling interest of
public health or safety so requires as long as 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.

Information obtained as a
result of any unauthorised or illegal disclosure is inadmissible in any
judicial, quasi-judicial, or administrative proceeding.

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