Editorial: National ID card urgent

Almost all of us have queued for hours on end, our patience running short, as we wait for our license, clearance, and all the necessary identification cards to be processed. Tempers run short and those who have simply no time to line up have become easy prey to fixers waiting to pounce on the sidelines.

Having just one ID to show for all legal transactions is ideal at this time. Even if we have the unified, multi-purpose ID or the UMID card, banks and other establishments still ask for a second government issued identification card.

Rapid strides in information technology vastly influence the way we do business today. With the advent of big data, business transactions are immediately processed saving us time and energy to run around getting applications filled.

We are now ready for the national ID system. Some 20 years ago, during the time of President Fidel V. Ramos in 1996, he issued Administrative Order 308 which was considered unconstitutional on the grounds that “…A.O. No. 308 pressures the people to surrender their privacy by giving information about themselves on the pretext that it will facilitate delivery of basic services. Given the record-keeping power of the computer, only the indifferent will fail to perceive the danger that A.O. No. 308 gives the government the power to compile a devastating dossier against unsuspecting citizens.”

Pres. Rodrigo Duterte signed into law the Philippine System Identification Act (PhilSys Act) last August 6, that “mandates the government to create a single official identification card for all citizens and foreign residents that would serve as a de facto national identification number.”

The PhilSys Act is said to “provide efficient services delivery, will enhance administrative governance, reduce corruption, curtail bureaucratic red tape, promote ease of doing business, and strengthen financial inclusion.”

Existing databases of government organization such as SSS, Philhealth, Comelec, etc. will be used, that can assuage fears of data breach and privacy violations.

We are one of the few countries left in the world without a national ID system.

We think we are ready for that now.

Posted in Opinion