In this Oct. 19, 2018 photo, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. takes part in the press conference along with High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission Federica Mogherini, European Council President Donald Tusk, and South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha during the 12th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Summit at the Europa Building in Brussels, Belgium.
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Locsin: I am not misinformed on passport data mess
Patricia Lourdes Viray ( - January 14, 2019 - 11:46am

MANILA, Philippines — Insisting that he was not misinformed on the data breach in the Department of Foreign Affairs, Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. admitted that he lacks information on the breach.

Former Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. earlier said the country's top diplomat is misinformed on his claim that a contractor ran away with personal data of passport holders.Yasay, who served as DFA chief from July 2016 to March 2017, insisted that French firm Francois-Charles Oberthur Fiduciare could not have stolen data from the agency.

"I love Perfecto Yasay but I am not 'misinformed' although I lack more information on what Panelo rightly says demands deep investigation: the anomalous DFA-BSP-Oberthur/APO passport contracts," Locsin said on Twitter.

Locsin further noted that his predecessors "seem to be panicking" on the matter.

In another tweet, Locsin said there may not be a data breach but a "withholding of the data by irate Frenchmen."

The DFA chief added that he is "mildly pissed" as his agency's consular affairs division have already been "overburdened with useless requirements" and that there has been reports of corrupted data.

Meanwhile, the National Privacy Commission has been directed to investigate the passport data breach and to determine whether provisions of the Data Privacy Act have been violated.

The commission is set to summon DFA officials, other agencies and the contractor to look into the incident.

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: January 15, 2019 - 6:00pm

The National Privacy Commission says it will conduct an investigation on the Department of Foreign Affairs' assertion that a former contractor has taken "all the data." 

"Any form of non-availability of personal data, infringement of the rights of data subjects, and harms from processing that include inconveniencing the public, must be adequately explained to the satisfaction of the law," the NPC says.

"We will summon the DFA and concerned agencies including the alleged contractor to determine the facts surrounding the case," it adds.

January 15, 2019 - 6:00pm

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddy Locsin Jr. says the Department of Foreign Affairs is for now taking the word of APO Production Unit that there is no breach in passport data which he says is sufficient justification in removing the birth certificate requirement in the renewal of passports.

In a statement sent to media, Locsin says only a Senate investigation will assure the public that there was no breach or loss of data. Until then, DFA can give no assurances on the safety and security of some data.

January 14, 2019 - 1:09pm

Sen. Nancy Binay calls for a review by the Office of the Solicitor General of all government contacts with third-party providers in response to issues with passport data disclosed by Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. over the weekend.

"We need to step up our standards when it comes to data protection and security lalo na't ang may hawak ng data management ay third-party contractors. We need to know which agencies are prone to data hostaging para di na maulit ang nangyari noon sa [Land Transportation Office] at [National Bureau of Investigation] where there was a stoppage of operations, and vital public services were affected," she says in a statement.

In a related statement, the Commisison on Human Rights urges the government to identify accountabilities in the supposed data breach, saying it is important to uphold "the right to privacy in preserving human dignity as stated in various human rights documents, including the 1987 Philippine Constitution, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the Data Privacy Act of 2012."

It adds the passport data mess "poses grave national security issues, especially since the said data contain sensitive, personal information of Filipino passport holders."

January 14, 2019 - 8:22am

Former Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. says on ANC's "Hot Copy" that he does not believe the previous sub-contractor for Philippine passports stole passport data.

He says Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. may be misinformed about the supposed data breach.

His predecessor, Albert del Rosario, in a statement, has said he respects Locsin's judgment and declined comment on the issue. He has also expressed confidence that Locsin will resolve the issue soon.

January 13, 2019 - 3:18pm

Vice President Leni Robredo urges the government to take action on the stolen passport data.

Robredo says the incident is scary as she joins the call to file charges against the outsourced passport maker. 

The National Privacy Commission said it would investigate the matter.

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