PRESIDENT Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo issued Executive Order (EO) 420 that seeks to start the implementation of the national ID system by harmonizing the identification systems of government agencies.
Arroyo said there is an urgent
need to integrate the issuance of identification cards in government to reduce
costs and provide greater convenience for those transacting business with
"A unified identification system will facilitate private businesses, enhance the integrity and reliability of government-issued identification cards in private transactions, and prevent violations of laws involving false names and identities," she said.
Under EO 420, all government agencies, including government corporations issuing ID cards to their members or constituents will adopt a unified multi-purpose ID system.
The agencies will collect the following data for the unified ID system: name; home address; sex; picture; signature; date of birth; place of birth; marital status; names of parents; height; weight; two index finger prints and two thumb marks; any prominent distinguishing features like moles and others; and tax identification number.
The participating agency will issue a corresponding ID number.
For visual verification purposes, the face or back of the ID card will contain a common reference, at least the first five items required in the data list, the print of the right thumb mark or any of the fingerprints collected and stored.
The director general of the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda), in this case Planning Secretary Romulo Neri, will streamline and harmonize all government ID systems.
Neda will also have other powers including entering into agreements with local governments, the Commission on Elections (Comelec), and other government agencies to ensure a government-wide adoption of the streamlined ID systems.
The unified ID system will be adopted within 60 days from the effectivity of the EO, which was issued last April 13.
The EO provided for general safeguards to ensure the ID holder's right to privacy by limiting its use only to establishing the person's identity, instituting stringent systems of access control to data in the ID system, protecting the information using advanced security features and cryptographic technology, and requiring written request or authorization from the card owner for correction or access to the data.
The EO also stated "in no case shall the collection or compilation of other data in violation of a person's right to privacy shall be allowed or tolerated."
The EO also said the budget department shall recommend funds to carry out the objectives of the national ID system.
Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said the EO did not refer to terrorism because it is only meant to "facilitate transactions in government."
Ermita said ID system will be for government agencies only "for the moment" until later on when it goes down to the barangay level where a general registry of residents, including newborns will be conducted.
He said the EO will be implemented after the implementing rules and regulations are drafted and approved.
He said government is expecting legal groups and human rights advocates to scrutinize the EO for any possible infringement. (JMR)
(April 22, 2005 issue)
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