Consequences Of Philippine Identification System Act On Society

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On August 6, 2018, President Rodrigo Duterte signed RA No. 11055— an act establishing the Philippine Identification System also known as the “Philippine Identification System Act.” According to the Republic Act, the Philippine Identification System (PhilSys) will be “the government's central identification platform for all citizens and resident aliens.” This act allows Filipinos “to improve the efficiency, transparency, and targeted delivery of public and social services, to enhance administrative governance, to reduce corruption and curtail bureaucratic red tape, to avert fraudulent transactions and misrepresentations, to strengthen financial inclusion, and to promote ease of doing business.” Under this law, it is beneficial to use in various transactions such as application from SSS, Pag-IBIG, PhilHealth, etc., passport, driver’s license, tax-related transactions, application for universities, etc.

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Aside from the current president of the Philippines, Ferdinand Marcos, Fidel V. Ramos, and Gloria Macapagal Arroyo also attempted to push through the act. However, all of them were struck down due to the high risk of people’s right to privacy and data security. Now that this law is brought up and signed by President Duterte, the PhilSys law has raise a lot of questions. Back in 2016, the news broke out about the sensitive data leakage of over 55 million registered Filipino voters, 1.3 million passport Filipino overseas holders and 15.8 million records of fingerprints on the Commission of Election’s website. In accordance with Trend Micro (2016), “every registered voter in the Philippines is now susceptible to fraud and other risks after a massive data breach leaked the entire database of the Philippines’ Commission on Elections (COMELEC).”

Having a national Identification Card requires government access to a ginormous storage of personal data. In relation to the immense government-related data infringement, the government had already failed to protect the enormous data that was supposed to be protected from anyone. There is no assurance that the information the government will gather from its citizen personal data will be safe from this situation. This may be the highest risk it produce, regardless of the high security of these data the government offers against possible misuse. Moreover, with the government’s access with the confidential datas, they have the capability to trace the history records provided by the national ID law which could lead to violation of privacy.

Another huge concern with the implementation of this law is the additional cost to the public. In this day and age that technology is extremely advance, when a daily transaction pass through digital channels, any unauthorized disclosure of any sensitive information— even the minor ones— may occur to security and financial consequences. In order for this national ID to have a smooth implementation, the government must first and foremost build a strong foundation of security among its citizens. With that, government must develop a high maintenance technology that will enable the safety of the information. According to Katrina Clemente-Lua (2018), “some P2 billion was allotted for the Phillipones Statistics Authority to undertake activities in support of PhilSys rollout.” Its is extremely costly for this law to be implemented.

Having a national ID has been circulating during the precidencies of Marcos, Ramos and Arroyo. It was only recently when President Duterte signed RA No. 11055 to apply the law. However, Based on the current position of the Philippines today, we are not yet ready to have another headache involving the money. Up until now, the Philippines have too much debt and we have yet paid. By implementing this law, the benefits may be mouthful, however, we must think on the other side on how this law will affect the more than 100 million people living in the Philippines.

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