From the Business Mirror (Aug 7): PNP, AFP: National ID system will unmask terrorists, criminals
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) welcomed on Tuesday the signing of the national identification system by President Duterte, saying it will help in the campaign against criminals and beef up national security.
Military Public Affairs Office chief Col. Noel Detoyato said the new law will unmask criminals and members of lawless groups, thus helping the government identify them, while restricting their movements.
“The national ID [system] is a very important aspect of national security. It removes the insurgents and criminals’ advantage of anonymity,” said Detoyato, noting that it came at a time while the AFP is in the middle of its campaign against the New People’s Army rebels and Moro terrorists.
“It will also restrict their movement and will have an effect on their recruitment and extortion activities,” Detoyato added.
On the other hand, PNP chief Director General Oscar D. Albayalde said the ID system will allow the police to share its crime record with the different agencies of the government.
“With the PhilSys law now in effect, the PNP can look forward to migrating our own National Crime Information System and the National Police Clearance System to a national database for sharing with other government agencies to optimize the operational potential of the entire national ID system,” Albayalde said.
Albayalde said while the National Identification System Act (PhilSys Act) assures access by 106.6 million Filipinos to a wide range of government services and privileges, it would also keep the country at pace with global trends of technology in governance.
“An efficient national ID system offers benefits to practical applications in census, taxation, election registration, banking, travel documentation, social security, social welfare and other transactions with government agencies,” the PNP chief said.
“All these government applications stand to benefit more than the quite limited law enforcement and internal security applications due to privacy and basic rights issues associated with gathering of personal information that need to be observed and upheld,” he added.
Meanwhile, human-rights group Karapatan called the ID system as a “wolf in a sheep’s clothing,” as it feared it could lead to a “wholesale rights violations, primarily of the people’s rights to freedom of movement and privacy, right against surveillance and right to unhampered and nondiscriminatory provision of social services.”
“The national ID system will be an underhanded maneuver to screen and monitor people. This law will be very much prone to abuse, considering that our bureaucracy is already littered with militarists and ex-generals who have proven their contempt for people’s rights,” said Kaparatan Secretary-General Cristina Palabay in a news statement.
“With billions already funneled to intelligence funds, this law will further fast-track government monitoring and even harassment of its citizens,” she added.
The National ID system project, estimated to cost taxpayers P25-billion, is seen to benefit over seven million Filipinos with no birth certificates.
Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph G. Recto on Tuesday said “that should be one of the outcomes” of the multibillion-peso project expected to be carried out soon by the Duterte administration.
“If there will be a mass list-up and registration, then perhaps we can use this activity to end the plight of those without birth certificates,” Recto said.
In a news statement, the Senator suggested that “we should use the national ID platform as an opportunity to solve the quandary of those who do not have birth documents.”