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Belmonte, Trillanes push for national ID system

MANILA, Philippines - Quezon City Rep. Feliciano Belmonte Jr. and Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV are proposing the establishment of a national identification system, in which every Filipino – including those abroad – would be issued a national ID card.

Belmonte’s proposal is contained in Bill 12, which is among the first batch of measures he filed.

“The Philippines is one of only nine countries in the world without a national identification system. This bill seeks to address this deficiency and institutionalize the Filipino identification system to improve government services and limit red tape in government transactions,” Belmonte said.

He said the national ID card would provide identification for all Filipino citizens and would be “sufficient for all transactions requiring proof of identification with both the government and the private sector.”

“A national ID card will lower costs, streamline transactions and provide ease and convenience,” he said.

Its benefits would outweigh its perceived disadvantages, he added.

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He pointed out that attempts by lawmakers in previous Congresses to have a national ID system failed.

Under the bill, all Filipinos would be required to register their personal information with the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), which would issue the national ID cards.

In the case of Filipinos working or residing abroad, registration and issuance of ID cards would be handled by the Department of Foreign Affairs through its embassies and consulates.

When the national ID card is presented to any state agency or private entity, no other proof of identification would be required.

Failure to present a national ID card would not be a ground for the denial of the service being sought. Belmonte said his bill provides for safeguards that address privacy issues.

“Among others, it is prohibited for any person to publish, disseminate or give to third parties or entities any information obtained in connection with the application for identification with a few exceptions. It also mandates the PSA to ensure the protection of the data contained in the cards,” he said.

Violators of the proposed law would face imprisonment of six months to two years or a fine of P50,000 to P500,000, or both at the discretion of the court.

The PSA, in coordination with the DFA, Department of the Interior and Local Government, Department of Social Welfare and Development, National Economic and Development Authority, Department of Science and Technology, Commission on Elections, Government Service and Insurance System, Social Security System, PhilHealth and Bureau of Immigration would issue implementing rules and regulations.

These agencies would be mandated to exchange technologies and best practices on the issuance of identification cards.

Trillanes’ proposal is contained in Senate Bill 95, which seeks to consolidate all other identification systems into one.

His proposed Filipino Identification Card would serve as the identification for all citizens of the country, whether residing in the Philippines or abroad. 

“Ultimately, this measure would help the government deliver better services to the people. Having a national ID system would be helpful in our anti-crime and anti-terror campaign,” he said.

“By having a centralized database, we would have easy access to information about suspects, fugitives and other lawless elements. Further, this would reduce leakage in providing social services to the people, such as the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program,” he said.

The Filipino ID shall be made of tamper-proof security material. It shall have on its face the imprinted photograph, name, birth date, sex, date of issue, signature of owner, the corresponding individual serial number issued by the PSA and other relevant data.

The Filipino ID shall also have the capability to store at least the biometric data of the individual cardholder.

Meanwhile, Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian called on President Duterte to build on the past administration’s successes by addressing the remaining weaknesses in the country’s anti-human trafficking efforts.

“There is still more work left to do in ensuring the continuing safety and well-being of our children, women and laborers, both here and abroad. Therefore, I urge President Duterte to include human trafficking as one of the focal points of his anti-crime campaign,” Gatchalian said.

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