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OPINION
LAW, ICT AND HUMAN RIGHTS

Pros and cons of national ID


system
Published February 27, 2018 7:07pm
By JAMAEL JACOB, Esq.

A couple of weeks ago, we tackled the proposition to establish a mandatory SIM card
registration system, which, judging from people’s reactions, remains a polarizing
issue even now.

Today, we take up another divisive measure, except that it involves a much larger
dataset and has more significant effects, regardless of which side you’re on.

I’m talking about the idea of having a national ID system. It’s a fairly common tool
used by a government to verify the identities of people who avail of its services or
who engage in certain public transactions.

–– ADVERTISEMENT ––

thanks for watching!


Compared to other measures supported by law enforcement and national security
agencies, a national ID debate is more difficult to traverse because of some positive
features that cannot be ignored:

1. Better delivery of and access to government services. A good universal ID


system can make the delivery of and access to public services more efficient. It
reduces cost both to the government and citizens.
2. Financial Inclusion. An ID system can also address a country’s financial
inclusion challenges. It’s been suggested that it could allow unemployed
Filipinos avail of financial and banking services.
3. Law enforcement. Governments also see ID systems critical when fighting
crime and terrorism. In 2016, when a local commercial bank became involved
in a high-profile money laundering case, government agencies echoed calls for
a national ID to prevent similar future incidents.
4. Public Safety. A centralized database is also useful during emergencies and
other public safety concerns. When the MERS (Middle East respiratory
syndrome) virus broke out in 2014, the Department of Health felt that it could
have quickly tracked down people who shared the same flight as a Filipino who
tested positive for the virus if a national ID system was in place.
5. Social Inclusion. National IDs can promote social inclusion by providing
official identification to people that usually have no access to similar
documents.

Meanwhile, several issues also form the core of the resistance to this type of measure.
They are significant enough to have kept countries like Australia, New Zealand, and
the US from introducing a similar system. They include:

1. Surveillance and Privacy Rights Violations. A national ID system gives


government unprecedented access to a huge cache of its citizens’ personal data.
This is the greatest danger it poses to any society, as confirmed by the history
of many countries which offer examples of its abuse or misuse.
2. Infringements of Other Civil Liberties. Privacy violations usually precede
graver human rights abuses. Any government with the ability to keep tabs on its
population via an ID system also has the ability to resort to more oppressive
activities, involving other related rights.
3. Doubts over Its Effectiveness Against Crime and Terrorism. A national ID
system is one item in this wish list given by governments, if asked what do
tools they need to combat crime and other threats. This, even if they fail to
produce substantial evidence of its effectiveness. Here in the Philippines, a
2005 report by the Senate Economic Planning Office noted the absence of any
proof that a national ID system increases security against terrorism.
4. Function Creep. Defined as the use of a tool or system for purposes beyond
that originally declared, function creep is a risk to any individual registered in
an ID system. In the draft bill pending at the Senate, the protection against
unlawful disclosure of registered information does not apply if it is in the
interest of “public health or safety”. Who makes such determination is not
stated.
5. Costs. Identity management programs are expensive to establish and maintain,
and require significant financial commitment from the government. For 2018,
the government has allotted P2 billion to the Philippine Statistics Authority to
prepare for the rollout of an ID system.
6. Data Security. Government ability to protect data under its custody is also
cause for concern. The 2016 Comelec breach only reinforced public perception
that the Philippine government is incompetent or poorly equipped to manage
and maintain secure information systems. What proof is there that it will fare
better when handling a bigger and more complex system?
7. Technical Complexity and Logistical Issues. Other factors that make an ID
system difficult to implement include: (a) migration; (b) access to registration
centers by citizens and residents; and (c) ill-equipped and unprepared
registration centers.

These arguments fuel any debate surrounding national ID systems. They make the
subject constantly immersed in controversy and a main topic of public discourse. In
the end, the key to a lasting solution remains finding a balance between legitimate
State interests and individual human rights.

For the Philippines, one positive development has been the passage of the country’s
first data protection law—the Data Privacy Act of 2012 (DPA). It provides legal
safeguards that ensure the security and protection of personal data, and which now
inform all domestic national ID debates.

That said, the DPA alone is not enough to keep any national ID system in check.
Especially during these troubling times, we, as a people, must always be mindful of
any effort that gives more power to an administration that is not shy when testing the
limits of its authority. At this point, to still give it an identity management scheme to
toy with may already be one measure too many. And we may all live to regret it.

For more information about this issue, check out this briefing paper.

Jamael Jacob is a lawyer specializing in the field of law, ICT, and human rights. He is
currently the Director of the University Data Protection Office of the Ateneo de
Manila University, and Policy and Legal Advisor to the Foundation for Media
Alternatives. The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent or reflect the
views of the organizations he is currently affiliated with.

Show comments

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Filtered By: Opinion


OPINION
AN ESSAY
A pickup truck on EDSA
Published February 25, 2018 11:20am
Updated February 26, 2018 8:10am
By HOWIE SEVERINO

The iconic image of EDSA people power is of nuns stopping tanks. I remember
seeing that in the flesh, but my dominant memory from those four days on EDSA is of
a battered blue pickup truck that I borrowed from my landlady.

It was February 22, 1986 when I attended a mass near my boarding house in Loyola
Heights. Right after the mass, the priest, the now deceased Father Pat Lim, gathered a
few parishioners to discuss the growing tension in the country. Then he told us to
listen to breaking news on the radio. Radio Veritas – then nearly everyone’s source of
breaking news that was not fake – was reporting that rebel soldiers had broken away
from the Marcos regime and holed up in Camp Aguinaldo. And they were fearing
annihilation.

Back in the boarding house where I rented space along with a couple of other young
high school teachers, Radio Veritas’ June Keithley was filling the hallways with the
latest updates. Cardinal Sin was calling on people to gather at EDSA to protect the
rebel soldiers. A group of activists was marching from Cubao in the middle of the
night. A fellow teacher, Yeyey Alfonso, and I decided to go.

It was eerily quiet on EDSA, and people were just trickling to the thoroughfare, then
still years away from the MRT that would loom over it. If there was ever a chance to
attack the besieged soldiers and nip people power in the bud, that was it. I saw Jimmy
Ongpin, the firebrand corporate executive and leading critic of Marcos, sitting on a
curb with his teen-age son Apa. “Come back tomorrow and tell your friends to come,”
he said with a calm authority.

Back in the boarding house, I made a flurry of calls to my parents in the United States
who were frightened for my safety, and to fellow teachers who wanted to meet up on
EDSA. The next morning, we learned that the crowd on EDSA was turning huge, and
there was a call for drinking water and food. That was when Yeyey and I decided to
borrow our landlady’s old blue pickup truck parked in the boarding house driveway.
Our landlady Len did not hesitate to lend us the truck despite the risks; she was
sympathetic to the cause along with nearly everyone else we knew.

We found drums, filled them with drinking water, and we were on our way (plastic
bottles of water were not yet ubiquitous; tap water was still drinkable). We spent the
next three days inching our way through the peaceful, spirited EDSA hordes, giving
out drinking water to people who had not gone home, ordinary folks sharing cups and
the latest news, some of which were early rumors that the Marcoses had already fled.
People gave us cartons of hard-boiled eggs to distribute as well.

In those four days, EDSA was mostly a mammoth pedestrian lane where motor
vehicles could not pass. Our blue pickup truck was one of the privileged few that the
crowd would part for (otherwise, they could not get refills of their water containers).
But it wasn’t just EDSA that we traversed but the side streets around Camp Aguinaldo
where the crowds were thinner and more vulnerable to the loyalist tanks and Marines
who were exploring weak points around the military camp.

The people on these side streets tended to be more hard-core because of the greater
danger, some of them sutana-wearing seminarians and priests locking arms. They
built improvised barricades. At one point, near the entrance to White Plains, as Yeyey
and I were giving out water, a rumor had rippled through the crowd that tanks and
soldiers were approaching. A priest told us to place our pickup truck in the barricade!
My nervous plea that the truck was not ours fell on deaf ears. I recall an armored
column approaching later and then turning back after seeing the people with locked
arms behind the barricade that featured a certain blue pickup truck. Someone took a
photo of the truck at that moment, which was eventually shown to my landlady, who
gasped before letting out a big laugh.

The beauty of people power was the participation of so many in a multitude of little
things that mattered: not just swarming EDSA, but lending a pickup truck without
hesitation, homes in Greenhills allowing us to refill water drums, the hard-boiled
eggs, the seminarians who blocked even the side streets on the periphery of EDSA.
Yes, the periphery: the dominant EDSA narrative is about the main action on that
highway and the players who made the headlines; yet for that peaceful political
change to happen, the resistance had to permeate the periphery, and it had to precede
1986 in streets and hills all over the country. I’ve heard countless people living
outside Manila at the time remind me that they too contributed to people power in
places like Baguio, Davao, and even America. What electrified the world were
televised images of determined common Filipinos who seemed willing to die in an act
of civil disobedience. A friend living in Boston mailed me a bulging envelope full of
US newspaper clippings about those four days. Travelling overseas in those post-
February days in 1986, Filipinos were congratulated in airports upon presentation of
their passports.

What ensued in the years that followed is up to the historians and the rest of us to
ponder and debate. But what is clear at least in my mind is what took place in those
four days: a creative, non-violent action among Filipinos that had not been seen before
in our lifetimes, and a rare victory in our history. People united against a dictator, and
won.

There was a time when nearly everyone I knew was on EDSA on those magnificent
days in February, and shared an unspoken sacred bond. Today, three decades years
later, most people around me were not there or not even born yet. Since recent history
is so poorly taught in our schools, it has become easy for some to deny the glory of
those years or even belittle what their fellow Filipinos achieved.

History buffs like to compare eras and generations. As great as Rizal and Bonifacio’s
generation was, they did not win freedom for the country, falling under the wing of
US colonizers after a brutal war. Neither did the gallant generation of Filipinos who
fought against the Japanese in Bataan.

This is a biased opinion, but I want to throw it out there anyway, 32 years after
victory: A case can be made that those in the resistance against martial law that
culminated at EDSA comprise the nation’s greatest generation. —GMA News

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Filtered By: Opinion


OPINION
LAW, ICT AND HUMAN RIGHTS

Pros and cons of national ID


system
Published February 27, 2018 7:07pm
By JAMAEL JACOB, Esq.

A couple of weeks ago, we tackled the proposition to establish a mandatory SIM card
registration system, which, judging from people’s reactions, remains a polarizing
issue even now.

Today, we take up another divisive measure, except that it involves a much larger
dataset and has more significant effects, regardless of which side you’re on.
I’m talking about the idea of having a national ID system. It’s a fairly common tool
used by a government to verify the identities of people who avail of its services or
who engage in certain public transactions.

–– ADVERTISEMENT ––

thanks for watching!


Compared to other measures supported by law enforcement and national security
agencies, a national ID debate is more difficult to traverse because of some positive
features that cannot be ignored:

1. Better delivery of and access to government services. A good universal ID


system can make the delivery of and access to public services more efficient. It
reduces cost both to the government and citizens.
2. Financial Inclusion. An ID system can also address a country’s financial
inclusion challenges. It’s been suggested that it could allow unemployed
Filipinos avail of financial and banking services.
3. Law enforcement. Governments also see ID systems critical when fighting
crime and terrorism. In 2016, when a local commercial bank became involved
in a high-profile money laundering case, government agencies echoed calls for
a national ID to prevent similar future incidents.
4. Public Safety. A centralized database is also useful during emergencies and
other public safety concerns. When the MERS (Middle East respiratory
syndrome) virus broke out in 2014, the Department of Health felt that it could
have quickly tracked down people who shared the same flight as a Filipino who
tested positive for the virus if a national ID system was in place.
5. Social Inclusion. National IDs can promote social inclusion by providing
official identification to people that usually have no access to similar
documents.
Meanwhile, several issues also form the core of the resistance to this type of measure.
They are significant enough to have kept countries like Australia, New Zealand, and
the US from introducing a similar system. They include:

1. Surveillance and Privacy Rights Violations. A national ID system gives


government unprecedented access to a huge cache of its citizens’ personal data.
This is the greatest danger it poses to any society, as confirmed by the history
of many countries which offer examples of its abuse or misuse.
2. Infringements of Other Civil Liberties. Privacy violations usually precede
graver human rights abuses. Any government with the ability to keep tabs on its
population via an ID system also has the ability to resort to more oppressive
activities, involving other related rights.
3. Doubts over Its Effectiveness Against Crime and Terrorism. A national ID
system is one item in this wish list given by governments, if asked what do
tools they need to combat crime and other threats. This, even if they fail to
produce substantial evidence of its effectiveness. Here in the Philippines, a
2005 report by the Senate Economic Planning Office noted the absence of any
proof that a national ID system increases security against terrorism.
4. Function Creep. Defined as the use of a tool or system for purposes beyond
that originally declared, function creep is a risk to any individual registered in
an ID system. In the draft bill pending at the Senate, the protection against
unlawful disclosure of registered information does not apply if it is in the
interest of “public health or safety”. Who makes such determination is not
stated.
5. Costs. Identity management programs are expensive to establish and maintain,
and require significant financial commitment from the government. For 2018,
the government has allotted P2 billion to the Philippine Statistics Authority to
prepare for the rollout of an ID system.
6. Data Security. Government ability to protect data under its custody is also
cause for concern. The 2016 Comelec breach only reinforced public perception
that the Philippine government is incompetent or poorly equipped to manage
and maintain secure information systems. What proof is there that it will fare
better when handling a bigger and more complex system?
7. Technical Complexity and Logistical Issues. Other factors that make an ID
system difficult to implement include: (a) migration; (b) access to registration
centers by citizens and residents; and (c) ill-equipped and unprepared
registration centers.

These arguments fuel any debate surrounding national ID systems. They make the
subject constantly immersed in controversy and a main topic of public discourse. In
the end, the key to a lasting solution remains finding a balance between legitimate
State interests and individual human rights.

For the Philippines, one positive development has been the passage of the country’s
first data protection law—the Data Privacy Act of 2012 (DPA). It provides legal
safeguards that ensure the security and protection of personal data, and which now
inform all domestic national ID debates.

That said, the DPA alone is not enough to keep any national ID system in check.
Especially during these troubling times, we, as a people, must always be mindful of
any effort that gives more power to an administration that is not shy when testing the
limits of its authority. At this point, to still give it an identity management scheme to
toy with may already be one measure too many. And we may all live to regret it.

For more information about this issue, check out this briefing paper.

Jamael Jacob is a lawyer specializing in the field of law, ICT, and human rights. He is
currently the Director of the University Data Protection Office of the Ateneo de
Manila University, and Policy and Legal Advisor to the Foundation for Media
Alternatives. The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent or reflect the
views of the organizations he is currently affiliated with.

Show comments

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141
LISTEN LIVE: CJ Sereno faces SC in oral arguments on oust plea
against her
Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno is joining the oral arguments on the quo warrant petition filed against her by
Solicitor General Jose Calida on Tuesday afternoon. Current top breaking...

1d
.GMA News Online

140

Filtered By: Opinion


OPINION
AN ESSAY

A pickup truck on EDSA


Published February 25, 2018 11:20am
Updated February 26, 2018 8:10am
By HOWIE SEVERINO

The iconic image of EDSA people power is of nuns stopping tanks. I remember
seeing that in the flesh, but my dominant memory from those four days on EDSA is of
a battered blue pickup truck that I borrowed from my landlady.

It was February 22, 1986 when I attended a mass near my boarding house in Loyola
Heights. Right after the mass, the priest, the now deceased Father Pat Lim, gathered a
few parishioners to discuss the growing tension in the country. Then he told us to
listen to breaking news on the radio. Radio Veritas – then nearly everyone’s source of
breaking news that was not fake – was reporting that rebel soldiers had broken away
from the Marcos regime and holed up in Camp Aguinaldo. And they were fearing
annihilation.

Back in the boarding house where I rented space along with a couple of other young
high school teachers, Radio Veritas’ June Keithley was filling the hallways with the
latest updates. Cardinal Sin was calling on people to gather at EDSA to protect the
rebel soldiers. A group of activists was marching from Cubao in the middle of the
night. A fellow teacher, Yeyey Alfonso, and I decided to go.

It was eerily quiet on EDSA, and people were just trickling to the thoroughfare, then
still years away from the MRT that would loom over it. If there was ever a chance to
attack the besieged soldiers and nip people power in the bud, that was it. I saw Jimmy
Ongpin, the firebrand corporate executive and leading critic of Marcos, sitting on a
curb with his teen-age son Apa. “Come back tomorrow and tell your friends to come,”
he said with a calm authority.

Back in the boarding house, I made a flurry of calls to my parents in the United States
who were frightened for my safety, and to fellow teachers who wanted to meet up on
EDSA. The next morning, we learned that the crowd on EDSA was turning huge, and
there was a call for drinking water and food. That was when Yeyey and I decided to
borrow our landlady’s old blue pickup truck parked in the boarding house driveway.
Our landlady Len did not hesitate to lend us the truck despite the risks; she was
sympathetic to the cause along with nearly everyone else we knew.

We found drums, filled them with drinking water, and we were on our way (plastic
bottles of water were not yet ubiquitous; tap water was still drinkable). We spent the
next three days inching our way through the peaceful, spirited EDSA hordes, giving
out drinking water to people who had not gone home, ordinary folks sharing cups and
the latest news, some of which were early rumors that the Marcoses had already fled.
People gave us cartons of hard-boiled eggs to distribute as well.

In those four days, EDSA was mostly a mammoth pedestrian lane where motor
vehicles could not pass. Our blue pickup truck was one of the privileged few that the
crowd would part for (otherwise, they could not get refills of their water containers).
But it wasn’t just EDSA that we traversed but the side streets around Camp Aguinaldo
where the crowds were thinner and more vulnerable to the loyalist tanks and Marines
who were exploring weak points around the military camp.

The people on these side streets tended to be more hard-core because of the greater
danger, some of them sutana-wearing seminarians and priests locking arms. They
built improvised barricades. At one point, near the entrance to White Plains, as Yeyey
and I were giving out water, a rumor had rippled through the crowd that tanks and
soldiers were approaching. A priest told us to place our pickup truck in the barricade!
My nervous plea that the truck was not ours fell on deaf ears. I recall an armored
column approaching later and then turning back after seeing the people with locked
arms behind the barricade that featured a certain blue pickup truck. Someone took a
photo of the truck at that moment, which was eventually shown to my landlady, who
gasped before letting out a big laugh.

The beauty of people power was the participation of so many in a multitude of little
things that mattered: not just swarming EDSA, but lending a pickup truck without
hesitation, homes in Greenhills allowing us to refill water drums, the hard-boiled
eggs, the seminarians who blocked even the side streets on the periphery of EDSA.

Yes, the periphery: the dominant EDSA narrative is about the main action on that
highway and the players who made the headlines; yet for that peaceful political
change to happen, the resistance had to permeate the periphery, and it had to precede
1986 in streets and hills all over the country. I’ve heard countless people living
outside Manila at the time remind me that they too contributed to people power in
places like Baguio, Davao, and even America. What electrified the world were
televised images of determined common Filipinos who seemed willing to die in an act
of civil disobedience. A friend living in Boston mailed me a bulging envelope full of
US newspaper clippings about those four days. Travelling overseas in those post-
February days in 1986, Filipinos were congratulated in airports upon presentation of
their passports.

What ensued in the years that followed is up to the historians and the rest of us to
ponder and debate. But what is clear at least in my mind is what took place in those
four days: a creative, non-violent action among Filipinos that had not been seen before
in our lifetimes, and a rare victory in our history. People united against a dictator, and
won.

There was a time when nearly everyone I knew was on EDSA on those magnificent
days in February, and shared an unspoken sacred bond. Today, three decades years
later, most people around me were not there or not even born yet. Since recent history
is so poorly taught in our schools, it has become easy for some to deny the glory of
those years or even belittle what their fellow Filipinos achieved.

History buffs like to compare eras and generations. As great as Rizal and Bonifacio’s
generation was, they did not win freedom for the country, falling under the wing of
US colonizers after a brutal war. Neither did the gallant generation of Filipinos who
fought against the Japanese in Bataan.

This is a biased opinion, but I want to throw it out there anyway, 32 years after
victory: A case can be made that those in the resistance against martial law that
culminated at EDSA comprise the nation’s greatest generation. —GMA News

Show comments
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MONEY

Duterte not taking sides in possible US-China trade war — Roque

Gloria elected to the board of China-based Boao Forum

Grab: P2-per minute charge is not hidden but part of overall fare system

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NBA Philadelphia secures No. 3 seed with blowout over Bucks


NBA Pelicans blast Spurs as both head to playoffs
UAAP 2018 Lady Tams cruise past Lady Warriors

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PINOY ABROAD

Pinoy orphan now an Australian hero after men's vault gold win

Balancing gigs and day jobs, OFW band In Times of Despair determined to make it in UAE

100 OFWs who availed of Kuwait amnesty arrive at NAIA

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SCITECH

Heat index in Cabanatuan hits 50.2°C on second day of dry season

Japan team maps ‘semi-infinite’ rare earth reserves

Early onset of habagat to cause another short ‘summer’ —PAGASA

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Bea Binene promises 'a different Bea' in new GMA series


Will Mavy and Cassy pursue showbiz careers? Zoren answers

GMA baby Sunshine Cruz excited for return to Kapuso network

VIEW MORE ▶

LIFESTYLE

We soon won’t find FHM, Yes!, and other Summit mags in newsstands
WATCH Devotees peg 'dancing sun' seen in Davao as 'miracle'
WATCH Joey Marquez does daughter Winwyn’s make up!

VIEW MORE ▶

OPINION

LAW, ICT, AND HUMAN RIGHTS Rebellion by Obfuscation

Manix Abrera's News Hardcore 324


REMOTO CONTROL Kuwentong OFW

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HASHTAG

This Dennis Trillo IG post has got people hearing wedding bells
WATCH Yael Yuzon makes waves on social media again as he Aladdins his way through
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LOOK James Yap's girlfriend Michela Cazzola shows off new baby bump

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High-value target nabbed in buy-bust op in Bacolod; P3.7M alleged shabu found


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MISSING PERSON: Lilia Ceriaco Alvarez


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growth
11:45 AM

Bar exam results out on April 26


11:44 AM

'We already have dates for Madrid Fusion Manila. Tuloy siya' — TBP official
11:33 AM

UNAUTHORI ZED CHARGE LTFRB orders Grab to explain P2 per minute travel time
11:20 AM

NBA Pelicans blast Spurs as both head to playoffs


11:18 AM

MMDA cleans Estero de Binondo


11:14 AM

Erwan Heussaff joins 'Buhay Carinderia' as content creator, wants to explore Mindanaoan
cuisine
10:58 AM

PDEA nabs 3 Chinese, 3 Pinoys in Batangas shabu lab raid


10:58 AM

NBA Philadelphia secures No. 3 seed with blowout over Bucks


10:52 AM

GLOBAL MARKETS Asian stocks on edge, oil soars on escalating Middle East tensions
10:13 AM

JV Ejercito urges admin to initiate charges vs. Sanofi


09:57 AM

UN Council must prevent Syria spiraling out of control —Guterres


09:36 AM

Albayalde vows to expedite pending cases vs. cops


09:28 AM

3 accusers build ‘serial’ case against Bill Cosby


08:42 AM

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 Rocco, nagpaliwanag kung bakit ginawang pribado ang relasyon nila ni Melissa
 Kaila Estrada is a total summer girl
 We soon won’t find FHM, Yes!, and other Summit mags in newsstands
 This Dennis Trillo IG post has got people hearing wedding bells

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IM READY PUBLIC SERVICE 10520 002 Filtered By: Opinion Opinion LAW, ICT AND HUMAN
RIGHTS Pros and cons of national ID system Published February 27, 2018 7:07pm By JAMAEL JACOB,
Esq. A couple of weeks ago, we tackled the proposition to establish a mandatory SIM card registration system,
which, judging from people’s reactions, remains a polarizing issue even now. Today, we take up another
divisive measure, except that it involves a much larger dataset and has more significant effects, regardless of
which side you’re on. I’m talking about the idea of having a national ID system. It’s a fairly common tool used
by a government to verify the identities of people who avail of its services or who engage in certain public
transactions.–– ADVERTISEMENT ––thanks for watching! Compared to other measures supported by law
enforcement and national security agencies, a national ID debate is more difficult to traverse because of some
positive features that cannot be ignored: Better delivery of and access to government services. A good
universal ID system can make the delivery of and access to public services more efficient. It reduces cost both
to the government and citizens. Financial Inclusion. An ID system can also address a country’s financial
inclusion challenges. It’s been suggested that it could allow unemployed Filipinos avail of financial and
banking services. Law enforcement. Governments also see ID systems critical when fighting crime and
terrorism. In 2016, when a local commercial bank became involved in a high-profile money laundering case,
government agencies echoed calls for a national ID to prevent similar future incidents. Public Safety. A
centralized database is also useful during emergencies and other public safety concerns. When the MERS
(Middle East respiratory syndrome) virus broke out in 2014, the Department of Health felt that it could have
quickly tracked down people who shared the same flight as a Filipino who tested positive for the virus if a
national ID system was in place. Social Inclusion. National IDs can promote social inclusion by providing
official identification to people that usually have no access to similar documents. Meanwhile, several issues
also form the core of the resistance to this type of measure. They are significant enough to have kept countries
like Australia, New Zealand, and the US from introducing a similar system. They include: Surveillance and
Privacy Rights Violations. A national ID system gives government unprecedented access to a huge cache of its
citizens’ personal data. This is the greatest danger it poses to any society, as confirmed by the history of many
countries which offer examples of its abuse or misuse. Infringements of Other Civil Liberties. Privacy
violations usually precede graver human rights abuses. Any government with the ability to keep tabs on its
population via an ID system also has the ability to resort to more oppressive activities, involving other related
rights. Doubts over Its Effectiveness Against Crime and Terrorism. A national ID system is one item in this
wish list given by governments, if asked what do tools they need to combat crime and other threats. This, even
if they fail to produce substantial evidence of its effectiveness. Here in the Philippines, a 2005 report by the
Senate Economic Planning Office noted the absence of any proof that a national ID system increases security
against terrorism. Function Creep. Defined as the use of a tool or system for purposes beyond that originally
declared, function creep is a risk to any individual registered in an ID system. In the draft bill pending at the
Senate, the protection against unlawful disclosure of registered information does not apply if it is in the interest
of “public health or safety”. Who makes such determination is not stated. Costs. Identity management
programs are expensive to establish and maintain, and require significant financial commitment from the
government. For 2018, the government has allotted P2 billion to the Philippine Statistics Authority to prepare
for the rollout of an ID system. Data Security. Government ability to protect data under its custody is also
cause for concern. The 2016 Comelec breach only reinforced public perception that the Philippine government
is incompetent or poorly equipped to manage and maintain secure information systems. What proof is there
that it will fare better when handling a bigger and more complex system? Technical Complexity and Logistical
Issues. Other factors that make an ID system difficult to implement include: (a) migration; (b) access to
registration centers by citizens and residents; and (c) ill-equipped and unprepared registration centers. These
arguments fuel any debate surrounding national ID systems. They make the subject constantly immersed in
controversy and a main topic of public discourse. In the end, the key to a lasting solution remains finding a
balance between legitimate State interests and individual human rights. For the Philippines, one positive
development has been the passage of the country’s first data protection law—the Data Privacy Act of 2012
(DPA). It provides legal safeguards that ensure the security and protection of personal data, and which now
inform all domestic national ID debates. That said, the DPA alone is not enough to keep any national ID
system in check. Especially during these troubling times, we, as a people, must always be mindful of any effort
that gives more power to an administration that is not shy when testing the limits of its authority. At this point,
to still give it an identity management scheme to toy with may already be one measure too many. And we may
all live to regret it. For more information about this issue, check out this briefing paper. Jamael Jacob is a
lawyer specializing in the field of law, ICT, and human rights. He is currently the Director of the University
Data Protection Office of the Ateneo de Manila University, and Policy and Legal Advisor to the Foundation
for Media Alternatives. The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of the
organizations he is currently affiliated with. Show comments RELATED CONTENTMilitant solon sounds
alarm as House... NBI nabs suspect in SIM swap scheme in LagunaEuropean telcos stock up on nano-SIM
cards for... Moleskine unveils SIM-less 'Analog Texting... promoted stories Promoted People avoided me
because of my warts. Fortunately, I found out how to remove them. www.skinroutineideas.com Promoted Eye
bags are no longer a problem ever since a new formula was created designed to remove bags and soothe the
skin www.neoeyes-shop.com Promoted Leftover iPhone stocks worth 45,000 PHP selling for under 3,000
PHP! MegaBargain 24 Promoted You want to have amazing body , well this is how you`ll make it.
www.amazing-body-today.com Recommended by GMA Trending News Ranked 'ALAALA,' WAGI RIN: 1
Gold, 2 Silver, 5 Bronze, nakamit ng GMA-7 sa 2018 NY Film... Nakapag-uwi ang GMA-7 ng isang Gold,
dalawang 2 Silver, limang Bronze, at apat na Finalist Certificate awards sa katatapos lang na New York Film
& TV Festivals 2018. Kabilang sa nagwagi... 17 h .GMA News Online 158 LOOK: Alden Richards receives
New York Festivals silver medal award for 'Alaala' On Instagram, Alden congratulated the entire 'Alaala' team.
Latest Philippine TV entertainment headlines on Kapuso talents/artists, GMA films stars, record singers,
movie & music reviews,... 17 h .GMA News Online 147 GMA Network wins 8 medals at the 2018 New York
Festivals Congratulations! Current Philippine trending info on popular art, culture, society, movie, music
reviews, travel destinations, food, classic literature, bestseller book lists, modern, retro... 19 h .GMA News
Online 141 LISTEN LIVE: CJ Sereno faces SC in oral arguments on oust plea against her Chief Justice Maria
Lourdes Sereno is joining the oral arguments on the quo warrant petition filed against her by Solicitor General
Jose Calida on Tuesday afternoon. Current top breaking... 1 d .GMA News Online 140 Filtered By: Opinion
Opinion AN ESSAY A pickup truck on EDSA Published February 25, 2018 11:20am Updated February 26,
2018 8:10am By HOWIE SEVERINO The iconic image of EDSA people power is of nuns stopping tanks. I
remember seeing that in the flesh, but my dominant memory from those four days on EDSA is of a battered
blue pickup truck that I borrowed from my landlady. It was February 22, 1986 when I attended a mass near my
boarding house in Loyola Heights. Right after the mass, the priest, the now deceased Father Pat Lim, gathered
a few parishioners to discuss the growing tension in the country. Then he told us to listen to breaking news on
the radio. Radio Veritas – then nearly everyone’s source of breaking news that was not fake – was reporting
that rebel soldiers had broken away from the Marcos regime and holed up in Camp Aguinaldo. And they were
fearing annihilation. Back in the boarding house where I rented space along with a couple of other young high
school teachers, Radio Veritas’ June Keithley was filling the hallways with the latest updates. Cardinal Sin was
calling on people to gather at EDSA to protect the rebel soldiers. A group of activists was marching from
Cubao in the middle of the night. A fellow teacher, Yeyey Alfonso, and I decided to go. It was eerily quiet on
EDSA, and people were just trickling to the thoroughfare, then still years away from the MRT that would loom
over it. If there was ever a chance to attack the besieged soldiers and nip people power in the bud, that was it. I
saw Jimmy Ongpin, the firebrand corporate executive and leading critic of Marcos, sitting on a curb with his
teen-age son Apa. “Come back tomorrow and tell your friends to come,” he said with a calm authority. Back in
the boarding house, I made a flurry of calls to my parents in the United States who were frightened for my
safety, and to fellow teachers who wanted to meet up on EDSA. The next morning, we learned that the crowd
on EDSA was turning huge, and there was a call for drinking water and food. That was when Yeyey and I
decided to borrow our landlady’s old blue pickup truck parked in the boarding house driveway. Our landlady
Len did not hesitate to lend us the truck despite the risks; she was sympathetic to the cause along with nearly
everyone else we knew. We found drums, filled them with drinking water, and we were on our way (plastic
bottles of water were not yet ubiquitous; tap water was still drinkable). We spent the next three days inching
our way through the peaceful, spirited EDSA hordes, giving out drinking water to people who had not gone
home, ordinary folks sharing cups and the latest news, some of which were early rumors that the Marcoses had
already fled. People gave us cartons of hard-boiled eggs to distribute as well. In those four days, EDSA was
mostly a mammoth pedestrian lane where motor vehicles could not pass. Our blue pickup truck was one of the
privileged few that the crowd would part for (otherwise, they could not get refills of their water containers).
But it wasn’t just EDSA that we traversed but the side streets around Camp Aguinaldo where the crowds were
thinner and more vulnerable to the loyalist tanks and Marines who were exploring weak points around the
military camp. The people on these side streets tended to be more hard-core because of the greater danger,
some of them sutana-wearing seminarians and priests locking arms. They built improvised barricades. At one
point, near the entrance to White Plains, as Yeyey and I were giving out water, a rumor had rippled through the
crowd that tanks and soldiers were approaching. A priest told us to place our pickup truck in the barricade! My
nervous plea that the truck was not ours fell on deaf ears. I recall an armored column approaching later and
then turning back after seeing the people with locked arms behind the barricade that featured a certain blue
pickup truck. Someone took a photo of the truck at that moment, which was eventually shown to my landlady,
who gasped before letting out a big laugh. The beauty of people power was the participation of so many in a
multitude of little things that mattered: not just swarming EDSA, but lending a pickup truck without hesitation,
homes in Greenhills allowing us to refill water drums, the hard-boiled eggs, the seminarians who blocked even
the side streets on the periphery of EDSA. Yes, the periphery: the dominant EDSA narrative is about the main
action on that highway and the players who made the headlines; yet for that peaceful political change to
happen, the resistance had to permeate the periphery, and it had to precede 1986 in streets and hills all over the
country. I’ve heard countless people living outside Manila at the time remind me that they too contributed to
people power in places like Baguio, Davao, and even America. What electrified the world were televised
images of determined common Filipinos who seemed willing to die in an act of civil disobedience. A friend
living in Boston mailed me a bulging envelope full of US newspaper clippings about those four days.
Travelling overseas in those post-February days in 1986, Filipinos were congratulated in airports upon
presentation of their passports. What ensued in the years that followed is up to the historians and the rest of us
to ponder and debate. But what is clear at least in my mind is what took place in those four days: a creative,
non-violent action among Filipinos that had not been seen before in our lifetimes, and a rare victory in our
history. People united against a dictator, and won. There was a time when nearly everyone I knew was on
EDSA on those magnificent days in February, and shared an unspoken sacred bond. Today, three decades
years later, most people around me were not there or not even born yet. Since recent history is so poorly taught
in our schools, it has become easy for some to deny the glory of those years or even belittle what their fellow
Filipinos achieved. History buffs like to compare eras and generations. As great as Rizal and Bonifacio’s
generation was, they did not win freedom for the country, falling under the wing of US colonizers after a brutal
war. Neither did the gallant generation of Filipinos who fought against the Japanese in Bataan. This is a biased
opinion, but I want to throw it out there anyway, 32 years after victory: A case can be made that those in the
resistance against martial law that culminated at EDSA comprise the nation’s greatest generation. —GMA
News Show comments Previous Top advertisement LOADING CONTENT advertisement · AT A GLANCE ·
NEWS Albayalde vows to expedite pending cases vs. cops JV Ejercito urges admin to initiate charges vs.
Sanofi Duterte, Honeylet spend dinner with friends in Hong KongVIEW MORE ▶MONEY Duterte not taking
sides in possible US-China trade war — Roque Gloria elected to the board of China-based Boao Forum Grab:
P2-per minute charge is not hidden but part of overall fare systemVIEW MORE ▶SPORTS NBA Philadelphia
secures No. 3 seed with blowout over Bucks NBA Pelicans blast Spurs as both head to playoffs UAAP 2018
Lady Tams cruise past Lady WarriorsVIEW MORE ▶PINOY ABROAD Pinoy orphan now an Australian hero
after men's vault gold win Balancing gigs and day jobs, OFW band In Times of Despair determined to make it
in UAE 100 OFWs who availed of Kuwait amnesty arrive at NAIAVIEW MORE ▶SCITECH Heat index in
Cabanatuan hits 50.2°C on second day of dry season Japan team maps ‘semi-infinite’ rare earth reserves Early
onset of habagat to cause another short ‘summer’ —PAGASAVIEW MORE ▶SHOWBIZ Bea Binene
promises 'a different Bea' in new GMA series Will Mavy and Cassy pursue showbiz careers? Zoren answers
GMA baby Sunshine Cruz excited for return to Kapuso networkVIEW MORE ▶LIFESTYLE We soon won’t
find FHM, Yes!, and other Summit mags in newsstands WATCH Devotees peg 'dancing sun' seen in Davao as
'miracle' WATCH Joey Marquez does daughter Winwyn’s make up!VIEW MORE ▶OPINION LAW, ICT,
AND HUMAN RIGHTS Rebellion by Obfuscation Manix Abrera's News Hardcore 324 REMOTO
CONTROL Kuwentong OFWVIEW MORE ▶HASHTAG This Dennis Trillo IG post has got people hearing
wedding bells WATCH Yael Yuzon makes waves on social media again as he Aladdins his way through
Disneyland LOOK James Yap's girlfriend Michela Cazzola shows off new baby bumpVIEW MORE ▶
advertisement High-value target nabbed in buy-bust op in Bacolod; P3.7M alleged shabu found 11:57 AM
MISSING PERSON: Lilia Ceriaco Alvarez 11:48 AM PALACE STATEMENT Public trust ‘would inspire’
Duterte to deliver more on inclusive growth 11:45 AM Bar exam results out on April 26 11:44 AM 'We
already have dates for Madrid Fusion Manila. Tuloy siya' — TBP official 11:33 AM UNAUTHORIZED
CHARGE LTFRB orders Grab to explain P2 per minute travel time 11:20 AM NBA Pelicans blast Spurs as
both head to playoffs 11:18 AM MMDA cleans Estero de Binondo 11:14 AM Erwan Heussaff joins 'Buhay
Carinderia' as content creator, wants to explore Mindanaoan cuisine 10:58 AM PDEA nabs 3 Chinese, 3
Pinoys in Batangas shabu lab raid 10:58 AM NBA Philadelphia secures No. 3 seed with blowout over Bucks
10:52 AM GLOBAL MARKETS Asian stocks on edge, oil soars on escalating Middle East tensions 10:13
AM JV Ejercito urges admin to initiate charges vs. Sanofi 09:57 AM UN Council must prevent Syria spiraling
out of control —Guterres 09:36 AM Albayalde vows to expedite pending cases vs. cops 09:28 AM 3 accusers
build ‘serial’ case against Bill Cosby 08:42 AM VIEW MORE ▶ Duterte, Honeylet spend dinner with friends
in Hong Kong Rocco, nagpaliwanag kung bakit ginawang pribado ang relasyon nila ni Melissa Kaila Estrada
is a total summer girl We soon won’t find FHM, Yes!, and other Summit mags in newsstands This Dennis
Trillo IG post has got people hearing wedding bells advertisement IM READY PUBLIC SERVICE 10520 002
Filtered By: Opinion Opinion LAW, ICT AND HUMAN RIGHTS Pros and cons of national ID system
Published February 27, 2018 7:07pm By JAMAEL JACOB, Esq. A couple of weeks ago, we tackled the
proposition to establish a mandatory SIM card registration system, which, judging from people’s reactions,
remains a polarizing issue even now. Today, we take up another divisive measure, except that it involves a
much larger dataset and has more significant effects, regardless of which side you’re on. I’m talking about the
idea of having a national ID system. It’s a fairly common tool used by a government to verify the identities of
people who avail of its services or who engage in certain public transactions.–– ADVERTISEMENT ––thanks
for watching! Compared to other measures supported by law enforcement and national security agencies, a
national ID debate is more difficult to traverse because of some positive features that cannot be ignored: Better
delivery of and access to government services. A good universal ID system can make the delivery of and
access to public services more efficient. It reduces cost both to the government and citizens. Financial
Inclusion. An ID system can also address a country’s financial inclusion challenges. It’s been suggested that it
could allow unemployed Filipinos avail of financial and banking services. Law enforcement. Governments
also see ID systems critical when fighting crime and terrorism. In 2016, when a local commercial bank became
involved in a high-profile money laundering case, government agencies echoed calls for a national ID to
prevent similar future incidents. Public Safety. A centralized database is also useful during emergencies and
other public safety concerns. When the MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome) virus broke out in 2014, the
Department of Health felt that it could have quickly tracked down people who shared the same flight as a
Filipino who tested positive for the virus if a national ID system was in place. Social Inclusion. National IDs
can promote social inclusion by providing official identification to people that usually have no access to
similar documents. Meanwhile, several issues also form the core of the resistance to this type of measure. They
are significant enough to have kept countries like Australia, New Zealand, and the US from introducing a
similar system. They include: Surveillance and Privacy Rights Violations. A national ID system gives
government unprecedented access to a huge cache of its citizens’ personal data. This is the greatest danger it
poses to any society, as confirmed by the history of many countries which offer examples of its abuse or
misuse. Infringements of Other Civil Liberties. Privacy violations usually precede graver human rights abuses.
Any government with the ability to keep tabs on its population via an ID system also has the ability to resort to
more oppressive activities, involving other related rights. Doubts over Its Effectiveness Against Crime and
Terrorism. A national ID system is one item in this wish list given by governments, if asked what do tools they
need to combat crime and other threats. This, even if they fail to produce substantial evidence of its
effectiveness. Here in the Philippines, a 2005 report by the Senate Economic Planning Office noted the
absence of any proof that a national ID system increases security against terrorism. Function Creep. Defined as
the use of a tool or system for purposes beyond that originally declared, function creep is a risk to any
individual registered in an ID system. In the draft bill pending at the Senate, the protection against unlawful
disclosure of registered information does not apply if it is in the interest of “public health or safety”. Who
makes such determination is not stated. Costs. Identity management programs are expensive to establish and
maintain, and require significant financial commitment from the government. For 2018, the government has
allotted P2 billion to the Philippine Statistics Authority to prepare for the rollout of an ID system. Data
Security. Government ability to protect data under its custody is also cause for concern. The 2016 Comelec
breach only reinforced public perception that the Philippine government is incompetent or poorly equipped to
manage and maintain secure information systems. What proof is there that it will fare better when handling a
bigger and more complex system? Technical Complexity and Logistical Issues. Other factors that make an ID
system difficult to implement include: (a) migration; (b) access to registration centers by citizens and residents;
and (c) ill-equipped and unprepared registration centers. These arguments fuel any debate surrounding national
ID systems. They make the subject constantly immersed in controversy and a main topic of public discourse.
In the end, the key to a lasting solution remains finding a balance between legitimate State interests and
individual human rights. For the Philippines, one positive development has been the passage of the country’s
first data protection law—the Data Privacy Act of 2012 (DPA). It provides legal safeguards that ensure the
security and protection of personal data, and which now inform all domestic national ID debates. That said, the
DPA alone is not enough to keep any national ID system in check. Especially during these troubling times, we,
as a people, must always be mindful of any effort that gives more power to an administration that is not shy
when testing the limits of its authority. At this point, to still give it an identity management scheme to toy with
may already be one measure too many. And we may all live to regret it. For more information about this issue,
check out this briefing paper. Jamael Jacob is a lawyer specializing in the field of law, ICT, and human rights.
He is currently the Director of the University Data Protection Office of the Ateneo de Manila University, and
Policy and Legal Advisor to the Foundation for Media Alternatives. The views expressed herein do not
necessarily represent or reflect the views of the organizations he is currently affiliated with. Show comments
RELATED CONTENTMilitant solon sounds alarm as House... NBI nabs suspect in SIM swap scheme in
LagunaEuropean telcos stock up on nano-SIM cards for... Moleskine unveils SIM-less 'Analog Texting...
promoted stories Promoted People avoided me because of my warts. Fortunately, I found out how to remove
them. www.skinroutineideas.com Promoted Eye bags are no longer a problem ever since a new formula was
created designed to remove bags and soothe the skin www.neoeyes-shop.com Promoted Leftover iPhone
stocks worth 45,000 PHP selling for under 3,000 PHP! MegaBargain 24 Promoted You want to have amazing
body , well this is how you`ll make it. www.amazing-body-today.com Recommended by GMA Trending
News Ranked 'ALAALA,' WAGI RIN: 1 Gold, 2 Silver, 5 Bronze, nakamit ng GMA-7 sa 2018 NY Film...
Nakapag-uwi ang GMA-7 ng isang Gold, dalawang 2 Silver, limang Bronze, at apat na Finalist Certificate
awards sa katatapos lang na New York Film & TV Festivals 2018. Kabilang sa nagwagi... 17 h .GMA News
Online 158 LOOK: Alden Richards receives New York Festivals silver medal award for 'Alaala' On Instagram,
Alden congratulated the entire 'Alaala' team. Latest Philippine TV entertainment headlines on Kapuso
talents/artists, GMA films stars, record singers, movie & music reviews,... 17 h .GMA News Online 147 GMA
Network wins 8 medals at the 2018 New York Festivals Congratulations! Current Philippine trending info on
popular art, culture, society, movie, music reviews, travel destinations, food, classic literature, bestseller book
lists, modern, retro... 19 h .GMA News Online 141 LISTEN LIVE: CJ Sereno faces SC in oral arguments on
oust plea against her Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno is joining the oral arguments on the quo warrant
petition filed against her by Solicitor General Jose Calida on Tuesday afternoon. Current top breaking... 1 d
.GMA News Online 140 Filtered By: Opinion Opinion AN ESSAY A pickup truck on EDSA Published
February 25, 2018 11:20am Updated February 26, 2018 8:10am By HOWIE SEVERINO The iconic image of
EDSA people power is of nuns stopping tanks. I remember seeing that in the flesh, but my dominant memory
from those four days on EDSA is of a battered blue pickup truck that I borrowed from my landlady. It was
February 22, 1986 when I attended a mass near my boarding house in Loyola Heights. Right after the mass, the
priest, the now deceased Father Pat Lim, gathered a few parishioners to discuss the growing tension in the
country. Then he told us to listen to breaking news on the radio. Radio Veritas – then nearly everyone’s source
of breaking news that was not fake – was reporting that rebel soldiers had broken away from the Marcos
regime and holed up in Camp Aguinaldo. And they were fearing annihilation. Back in the boarding house
where I rented space along with a couple of other young high school teachers, Radio Veritas’ June Keithley
was filling the hallways with the latest updates. Cardinal Sin was calling on people to gather at EDSA to
protect the rebel soldiers. A group of activists was marching from Cubao in the middle of the night. A fellow
teacher, Yeyey Alfonso, and I decided to go. It was eerily quiet on EDSA, and people were just trickling to the
thoroughfare, then still years away from the MRT that would loom over it. If there was ever a chance to attack
the besieged soldiers and nip people power in the bud, that was it. I saw Jimmy Ongpin, the firebrand
corporate executive and leading critic of Marcos, sitting on a curb with his teen-age son Apa. “Come back
tomorrow and tell your friends to come,” he said with a calm authority. Back in the boarding house, I made a
flurry of calls to my parents in the United States who were frightened for my safety, and to fellow teachers
who wanted to meet up on EDSA. The next morning, we learned that the crowd on EDSA was turning huge,
and there was a call for drinking water and food. That was when Yeyey and I decided to borrow our landlady’s
old blue pickup truck parked in the boarding house driveway. Our landlady Len did not hesitate to lend us the
truck despite the risks; she was sympathetic to the cause along with nearly everyone else we knew. We found
drums, filled them with drinking water, and we were on our way (plastic bottles of water were not yet
ubiquitous; tap water was still drinkable). We spent the next three days inching our way through the peaceful,
spirited EDSA hordes, giving out drinking water to people who had not gone home, ordinary folks sharing
cups and the latest news, some of which were early rumors that the Marcoses had already fled. People gave us
cartons of hard-boiled eggs to distribute as well. In those four days, EDSA was mostly a mammoth pedestrian
lane where motor vehicles could not pass. Our blue pickup truck was one of the privileged few that the crowd
would part for (otherwise, they could not get refills of their water containers). But it wasn’t just EDSA that we
traversed but the side streets around Camp Aguinaldo where the crowds were thinner and more vulnerable to
the loyalist tanks and Marines who were exploring weak points around the military camp. The people on these
side streets tended to be more hard-core because of the greater danger, some of them sutana-wearing
seminarians and priests locking arms. They built improvised barricades. At one point, near the entrance to
White Plains, as Yeyey and I were giving out water, a rumor had rippled through the crowd that tanks and
soldiers were approaching. A priest told us to place our pickup truck in the barricade! My nervous plea that the
truck was not ours fell on deaf ears. I recall an armored column approaching later and then turning back after
seeing the people with locked arms behind the barricade that featured a certain blue pickup truck. Someone
took a photo of the truck at that moment, which was eventually shown to my landlady, who gasped before
letting out a big laugh. The beauty of people power was the participation of so many in a multitude of little
things that mattered: not just swarming EDSA, but lending a pickup truck without hesitation, homes in
Greenhills allowing us to refill water drums, the hard-boiled eggs, the seminarians who blocked even the side
streets on the periphery of EDSA. Yes, the periphery: the dominant EDSA narrative is about the main action
on that highway and the players who made the headlines; yet for that peaceful political change to happen, the
resistance had to permeate the periphery, and it had to precede 1986 in streets and hills all over the country.
I’ve heard countless people living outside Manila at the time remind me that they too contributed to people
power in places like Baguio, Davao, and even America. What electrified the world were televised images of
determined common Filipinos who seemed willing to die in an act of civil disobedience. A friend living in
Boston mailed me a bulging envelope full of US newspaper clippings about those four days. Travelling
overseas in those post-February days in 1986, Filipinos were congratulated in airports upon presentation of
their passports. What ensued in the years that followed is up to the historians and the rest of us to ponder and
debate. But what is clear at least in my mind is what took place in those four days: a creative, non-violent
action among Filipinos that had not been seen before in our lifetimes, and a rare victory in our history. People
united against a dictator, and won. There was a time when nearly everyone I knew was on EDSA on those
magnificent days in February, and shared an unspoken sacred bond. Today, three decades years later, most
people around me were not there or not even born yet. Since recent history is so poorly taught in our schools, it
has become easy for some to deny the glory of those years or even belittle what their fellow Filipinos achieved.
History buffs like to compare eras and generations. As great as Rizal and Bonifacio’s generation was, they did
not win freedom for the country, falling under the wing of US colonizers after a brutal war. Neither did the
gallant generation of Filipinos who fought against the Japanese in Bataan. This is a biased opinion, but I want
to throw it out there anyway, 32 years after victory: A case can be made that those in the resistance against
martial law that culminated at EDSA comprise the nation’s greatest generation. —GMA News Show
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MALACAÑANG
Manila

PRESIDENTIAL DECREE No. 278 August 24, 1973

INSTITUTING A NATIONAL REFERENCE CARD SYSTEM AND CREATING THEREFOR THE


NATIONAL REGISTRATION COORDINATING COMMITTEE

WHEREAS, there is a pressing need for the government to establish a system of positive identification
of all Filipino citizens and foreign nationals in the Philippines, a system essential to insuring national
security and affording convenience in the transaction of official business with government and private
offices and agencies;

WHEREAS, the various identification systems currently in existence are generally agency-oriented,
specific in purpose and non- complementary:

WHEREAS, among the objectives of such a National Reference Card System would be the
replacement of all existing identification systems currently prescribed by government agencies to
afford convenience to the general public.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, FERDINAND E. MARCOS, President of the Philippines by virtue of the powers
in me vested by the Constitutions as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and
pursuant to Proclamation No. 1081 dated September 21, 1972, Proclamation No. 1104 dated January
17, 1972, and General Order No. 1, dated September 22, 1972, in order to achieve the aforesaid
objectives, do hereby decree that:

1. All citizens of the Republic of the Philippines shall be assigned a Reference Number and
issued a National Reference Card in a manner prescribed by the National Registration
Coordinating Committee:

2. Citizens or nationals of foreign countries resident in the Philippines shall likewise be


assigned a Reference Number and issued a National Reference Card in the manner
prescribed by the National Registration Coordinating Committee:

3. The National Reference Card shall serve as the official identification of the person to
whom it is issued;

4. The penalty of imprisonment from five to ten years shall be imposed upon and offender
found guilty of any of the following acts or omissions:

(a) The willful submission of or causing to be submitted a fictitious name and other
false data in the application form for a National Reference Card by any person;

(b) The unauthorized printing, preparation or issuance of a National Reference Card


by any person;

(c) Willful falsification, mutilation, alteration of or tampering with a National Reference


Card by any person;
(d) The use of unauthorized possession of a National Reference Card by any person
other than the one to whom it was issued or the possession of a fake, falsified or
altered National Reference Card; and

(e) Willful failure to apply for and secure National Reference Card as prescribed by
the National Registration Coordinating Committee.

5. There is hereby created a National Registration Coordinating Committee composed of the


following or their respective representatives;

The Secretary Department of Local Governments and Community Chairman


Development
The Secretary Department of National Defense Co-Chairman
The Secretary Department of Education and Culture Member
The Chairman Commission on Election Member
The Director Bureau of the Census and Statistics Member
The Commissioner Bureau of Internal Revenue Member
The Commissioner Commission on Immigration and Deportation Member
The Managing Director National Computer Center Member

6. The National Registration Coordinating Committee is hereby designed and authorized to


prescribed rules and regulations for the effective implementation of this Decree.

7. Repealing Clause. All laws, executive orders, rules or regulations or parts thereof which
are inconsistent with this decree are hereby repealed and/or modified accordingly.

Done in the City of Manila this 24th day of August in the year of Our Lord, nineteen hundred and
seventy-three.
Administrative Order No. 308, s.
1996
Signed on December 12, 1996

MALACAÑANG
MANILA

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE PHILIPPINES

ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER NO. 308

ADOPTION OF A NATIONAL COMPUTERIZED IDENTIFICATION REFERENCE


SYSTEM

WHEREAS, there is a need to provide Filipino citizens and foreign residents with the facility to
conveniently transact business with basic services and social security providers and other
government instrumentalities;

WHEREAS, this will require a computerized system to properly and efficiently identify persons
seeking basic services and social security and reduce, if not totally eradicate, fraudulent
transactions and misrepresentations;

WHEREAS, a concerted and collaborative effort among the various basic services and social
security providing agencies and other government instrumentalities is required to achieve such a
system;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, FIDEL V. RAMOS, President of the Republic of the Philippines, by


virtue of the powers vested in me by law, do hereby direct the following:
SECTION 1. Establishment of a National Computerized Identification Reference System. A
decentralized Identification Reference System among the key basic services and social security
providers is hereby established.

SEC. 2. Inter-Agency Coordinating Committee. An Inter-Agency Coordinating Committee


(IACC) to draw-up the implementing guidelines and oversee the implementation of the System is
hereby created, chaired by the Executive Secretary, with the following as members:

Head, Presidential Management Staff


Secretary, National Economic Development Authority
Secretary, Department of the Interior and Local Government
Secretary, Department of Health
Administrator, Government Service Insurance System
Administrator, Social Security System
Administrator, National Statistics Office
Managing Director, National Computer Center

SEC. 3. Secretariat. The National Computer Center (NCC) is hereby designated as secretariat to
the IACC and as such shall provide administrative and technical support to the IACC.

SEC. 4. Linkage Among Agencies. The Population Reference Number (PRN) generated by the
NSO shall serve as the common reference number to establish a linkage among concerned
agencies. The IACC Secretariat shall coordinate with the different Social Security and Services
Agencies to establish the standards in the use of Biometrics Technology and in computer
application designs of their respective systems.

SEC. 5. Conduct of Information Dissemination Campaign. The Office of the Press Secretary, in
coordination with the National Statistics Office, the GSIS and SSS as lead agencies and other
concerned agencies shall undertake a massive tri-media information dissemination campaign to
educate and raise public awareness on the importance and use of the PRN and the Social Security
Identification Reference.
SEC. 6. Funding. The funds necessary for the implementation of the system shall be sourced from
the respective budgets of the concerned agencies.

SEC. 7. Submission of Regular Reports. The NSO, GSIS and SSS shall submit regular reports to
the Office of the President, through the IACC, on the status of implementation of this undertaking.

SEC. 8. Effectivity. This Administrative Order shall take effect immediately.

DONE in the City of Manila, this 12th day of December in the year of Our Lord, Nineteen Hundred
and Ninety-Six.
National ID and the Philippines

For the Philippines, one of the earliest attempts to establish a universal ID scheme was in 1973when
President Ferdinand Marcos signed Presidential Decree No. 278, which called for a National
Reference Card System and the creation of a National Registration Coordinating Committee. It
sought to replace all existing identification systems prescribed by government agencies with a single
National Reference Card, covering not only Filipinos but also the country’s resident foreigners. None
of these plans materialized.

More than two decades later, in 1996, President Fidel Ramos issued Administrative Order (AO) No.
308, which the mandated the adoption of a National Computerized Identification Reference System.
The issuance was challenged before the Supreme Court and did not see the light of day. It was
stricken down on several grounds, including its violation of privacy rights. The AO, according to the
Court, failed to establish proper parameters (e.g., specific biological characteristics that will be
collected, particular biometrics technology that will be used, etc.), thereby posing a significant threat
to the right to privacy by making it easy to misuse or abuse the accumulated personal data.

In 2005, it was President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s turn to try her luck. She issued Executive Order
No. 420, which sought to harmonize and streamline the ID systems of all government agencies and
government-owned and –controlled corporations through a unified multi-purpose identification
(UMID) scheme. Like Ramos’s AO, the validity of the Order was also questioned via a court
petition.[11]This policy, however, came out of the debacle unscathed. Ruling favorably, the Court
noted that it sets adequate limits to data collection, and even provides strict safeguards to protect
their confidentiality. It also doesn’t give government agencies any additional data collection powers.

Meanwhile, in Congress, legislators in both chambers have long toyed with the idea of establishing
the country’s first national ID system. And thus far, the current (17th) Congress appears to have the
best chance of making it real.

In the Senate, four bills have been filed as of this writing, all lodged within a span of three
months.[12]These are now being taken up in a Technical Working Group that is set to produce a
consolidated version of the different proposals. By comparison, three bills were filed in the Senate in
the previous Congress, and none of them went beyond committee level discussions.

At the House of Representatives, national ID proposals usually meet little to no opposition. Things
are no different in this Congress, with House Bill No. 6221—already a consolidated bill—having
already been approved on third and final reading, and transmitted to the Senate. In the previous
(16th) Congress, House Bill No. 5060 was also passed on third and final reading with only one
negative vote. Shortly thereafter, however, the Office of the President clarified that the proposal was
not a priority of the administration.

The following table provides outlines the salient features of the two consolidated national ID bill
spending before Congress:

SB (TWG Version as of
KEY FEATURES HB 6221
February 08, 2018)
Title Filipino Identification System Philippine Identification System
Coverage/Scope Filipinos who are at least 18 years old 1. All Filipinos
SB (TWG Version as of
KEY FEATURES HB 6221
February 08, 2018)
2. All residents of the Philippines,
including citizens of foreign countries
residing in the country for an
aggregate period of more than 180
days during any calendar year
1. Common Reference Number
1. PhilSys Number (PSN)
(CRN)

Components 2. Philippine Identification Card


2. Filipino Identification Card
(PhilID)
(FilID)
3. PhilSys Registry
3. Filipino Citizen Registry
at least 35, including biometric
information:

· 10 on the face of the card

· 19 stored in the smart chip of 10 only, including biometric


Data Entries the card information:

· 35 in the database · 5 on the face of the card

“Pertinent authorities” are allowed to


require other information “for the
purpose of attaining the objectives of
the FilSys”
Data about a person’s external
characteristics or quantitative
analysis that provides a positive
identification of an individual such as
voice, photograph, fingerprint,
signature, iris, palm, or such other Facial image, fingerprint, and iris
identifiable feature captured by a scan of an individual.
device called Data Capture.
Definition of Biometric 1. Facial image
Information 1. Left primary finger code
2. Full set of fingerprints
2. Right primary finger code
3. Iris scan
3. Left backup finger code

4. Right backup finger code

5. Facial image exception code


Implementing Agencies 16 government agencies, with the Philippine Statistical Authority
Philippine Statistical Authority
SB (TWG Version as of
KEY FEATURES HB 6221
February 08, 2018)
managing, maintaining, and
administering the database.

The Department of Information and


Communications Technology (DICT)
provides technical assistance.

The DICT provides technical


The National Privacy Commission
assistance.
(NPC) provides technical assistance.

Access is restricted to the


implementing agencies, subject to the
appropriate clearance, and limited PhilSys Policy and Coordination
only to the extent necessary for the Council, which has at least 13
performance of their respective members. The Council can modify or
functions relative to the FilSys. expand its membership, as
necessary.
Official government-issued
Official government-issued
identification document of
identification document of the
cardholders in dealing with all
cardholder when dealing with national
national government agencies, local
government agencies, local
government units (LGUs),
government units, government -
government-owned or controlled
owned and -controlled corporations
corporations (GOCCs), government
(GOCCs) and government financial
financial institutions (GFIs), and all
institutions (GFIs).
private sector entities.

Use/s of the ID

In transactions requiring proof of


identity and proof of address, such
In transactions requiring proof or
as, but not limited to:
verification of a Filipino citizen’s
identity or personal circumstances,
such as in the performance of the
following acts:
1. Application for eligibility and
access to social welfare and benefits
given by the government, including
but not limited to those provided to
SB (TWG Version as of
KEY FEATURES HB 6221
February 08, 2018)
1. Acknowledging any document under Section 82 of Republic Act No.
before a notary public 10963;

2. Taking an oath of office upon 2. Application for services and


election or appointment to any benefits offered by GSIS, SSS,
position in the government service; PhilHealth, HDMF, and other
government agencies;
3. Applying for and receiving any
license, certificate or permit from any 3. Transactions with any
public authority; government agency;

4. Paying any tax or fee, 4. Voting identification;


receiving any money sourced from
any public fund; and 5. Securing tax identification
number and other tax-related
5. Entering into any other transactions;
transaction with a government
agency or office. 6. Admission to any government
hospital, health center or similar
institution;

7. Application for admission in all


schools, colleges, learning institutions
and universities, whether public or
private;

8. Opening of bank accounts and


other transactions with banking and
financial institutions;

9. Applications for passports; and

10. Other similar transactions or


uses that may be defined in the
implementing rules and regulations.
No person may disclose, collect,
No person may disclose, convey,
record, convey, disseminate, publish,
disseminate, publish, or use any
or use any personal data registered
information of registered persons,
Protection Against with the FilSys, give access thereto or
give access thereto or give copies
Unauthorized give copies thereof to third parties or
thereof to third parties or entities,
Disclosures, Sharing, or entities, except in the following except in the following instances:
Publication of circumstances:
Registered Data

1. When the holder of the FilID


expressly authorizes the disclosure of
SB (TWG Version as of
KEY FEATURES HB 6221
February 08, 2018)
such information to a third person, 1. When the registered person
entity, or agency; provides express consent;

2. In case of accident, disaster or 2. When the interest of public


fortuitous events, when information health or safety so requires; and
on the medical history of the holder
such as the blood type or special 3. Upon the order of any
medical needs or other relevant competent court.
information are needed by medical
institutions and health service
workers;

3. When the interest of public


health or safety so requires; or

4. Upon the order of any


competent court.
Private entities required
to accept ID as proof of
identity, without YES YES
requiring additional
documents
If transacting business with the
government, biometric data shall be
accepted.
Silent. It may be inferred, however,
that an individual may simply present
Effect of Failure to
his/her ID Number and allow his
Present the Card
biometric information to be collected
Failure to present the card shall not
for authentication.
be a ground to deny or limit the grant
of basic government service, as long
as the transaction allows the non-
presentation of the FilID.
1. Refusal to accept,
acknowledge and/or recognize the
1. Use of false information in PhilID as the only official identification
applying for a FilID, or the of the holder/possessor, without just
procurement of a card through fraud, and sufficient cause
and the subsequent use of the card in
Punishable Acts a legitimate transaction 2. Use of the PhilID in an
unlawful manner or to commit a
2. Willful and unjustified refusal fraudulent act or for an unlawful
to accept, acknowledge, or recognize purpose
the FilID as the only official
identification of the owner 3. Willful submission of or
causing to be submitted a fictitious
name or false information in the
SB (TWG Version as of
KEY FEATURES HB 6221
February 08, 2018)
application, renewal, or updating in
the PhilSys

4. Unauthorized printing,
preparation, or issuance of a PhilID

5. Willful falsification, mutilation,


alteration, or tampering of the PhilID

6. Except for the one to whom it


was issued, use or unauthorized
possession of a PhilID without any
reasonable excuse, or the possession
of a fake, falsified, or altered PhilID

7. willful transfer of the PhilID or


the PSN to any other person

8. accessing the PhilSys without


any authority

9. willful use or disclosure of data


or information

10. For officials, employees or


agents who have the custody or
responsibility of maintaining the
integrity of the PhilSys:

a. malicious disclosure or
processing of data or information

b. providing access to the System


or allowing the processing or
disclosure of any data or information
therein without any authority from the
law, due to negligence

Analysis

Unlike other measures proposed or at least backed heavily by law enforcement authorities and
national security agencies, a national ID debate is more difficult to traverse for rights advocates
given its ability to boast of some inherent virtues that are markedly absent among its peers. The
more commonly cited benefits include the following:
1. Better delivery of and access to government services. That a good universal ID system can
improve efficiency and reduce cost both to the government and citizens of the delivery of and
access to public services remains the most invoked reason for supporting such a system.
There is no denying that an identification problem can exclude one from much-needed social
service programs.
2. Financial Inclusion. Economic experts and other authorities also note the potential of having
an ID system address the country’s financial inclusion challenges. Here in the Philippines, it
has been suggested that a national ID could enable unemployed Filipinos who typically do
not have access to other IDs to avail of financial and banking services.[13]
3. Law enforcement. Governments also see ID systems important when fighting terrorism and
various crimes like illegal immigration and identity fraud. In 2016, when a commercial bank
became involved in an $81M money laundering case, government agencies echoed calls for
the establishment of a national ID system in order to prevent similar incidents in the
future.[14]
4. Public Safety. A centralized database can also prove useful during national emergencies,
calamities, and other public safety concerns. When the MERS (Middle East respiratory
syndrome) virus broke out in 2014, the Department of Health found it difficult to track down
the other passengers of an airliner that had a Filipino who tested positive for the virus. The
Health Secretary then stated it would have been easier if they had an extensive database of
Filipinos to help them in their search.[15]
5. Social Inclusion. National IDs are also believed to promote social inclusion by providing
official identification for individuals that usually have no access to such documents.[16]

Resistance to the introduction of an ID system also proceeds from a number of issues. The backlash
surrounding similar proposals in other jurisdictions has sometimes been so great that countries like
Australia, New Zealand, and the US steer away from introducing national ID cards at least in the
near term. Other concerns include:

1. Surveillance and Privacy Rights Violations. A national ID system gives any government
unprecedented access to a huge cache of its citizens’ personal data. That is quite possibly
the greatest danger it poses in any given society, no matter how strong the safeguards a
country’s constitution or statutes offer against its potential abuse or misuse. For the
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), use of an ID system inevitably leads to the
normalization of the surveillance of citizens, and this will almost always promote
discrimination and harassment in the long run.[17]This point is all too real for local rights
advocates and activists who are afraid that such a system could be used to compile
information on political opposition and other parties critical of the administration.[18]At the
House of Representatives, the seven lawmakers who opposed the current proposal
highlighted how the system poses a threat to the right to privacy of Filipino citizens.
Representative Emmi de Jesus, in particular, cautioned against the provision allowing for the
collection of other information determined by participating government agencies, to wit:

“This is alarming, especially in the context of the non-stop extrajudicial killings among peasants,
political activists, indigenous peoples, and even the current controversial murder of poor Filipinos in
the name of the war on drugs. An unlimited expanse of personal data placed in the hands of a
regime that relies heavily on dictatorship and fascist methods can only mean intensified surveillance
and state profiling, which might even lead to more killings […] Enabling a fascist, big brother state to
collect and centralize sensitive personal information about its citizens will never solve the basic ills of
social services delivery.”[19]

2. Infringements of Other Civil Liberties. Privacy violations are usually a precursor to graver
human rights abuses. Accordingly, any government with the ability to keep tabs on its
population via an ID system will necessarily have the ability to shift to other more oppressive
acts, such as cracking down on free speech, freedom of assembly, and other related rights.
3. Doubts over Effectiveness Against Crime and Terrorism.A national ID system is just one item
in a familiar wishlist readily given by governments when asked what they need to help
contain or eradicate crime and threats against the State. Time and again, however, they fail
to produce substantial evidence showing just how effective these measures are. Here in the
Philippines, a 2005 report by the Senate Economic Planning Office noted the absence of any
proof that a national ID system increases security against terrorism. Citing a report by
Privacy International, it admitted that 80% of the 25 countries affected by terrorism from 1986
to 2004 actually had identity card systems in place, with a third of them employing biometrics
technology.
4. Function Creep. Described earlier as the use of a tool or system for purposes beyond those
originally declared, function creep will always pose a risk to the privacy of individuals
registered in an ID system. In the draft bill currently pending at the Philippine Senate, the
protection against unlawful disclosure of registered information do not apply when the
additional use is required by the “interest of public health or safety”. Who gets to make such
determination is not stated, making it prone to abuse by any number of government agencies
or officials with their own vested interests.
5. Costs. A key concern, particularly for government agencies expected to shoulder the
responsibility of implementing an ID system, is cost. Many observers believe that identity
management programs are inherently expensive and require significant financial
commitment from the government in order to work. For 2018, the Philippine government has
allotted PhP2 billion to the Philippine Statistics Authority to prepare for the rollout of a
domestic ID system.[20]
6. Data Security. Another issue often raised relates to the ability of the government to protect
data under its control or custody. In the local scene, the Comelec incident only served to
reinforce public perception that the government is incompetent or poorly equipped to
manage and maintain a secure information system. If it is incapable of protecting a voter
registration database, how can it be expected to fare better when handling a bigger and
more complex system?
7. Technical Complexity and Logistical Issues. Apart from cost, a number of other factors make
an ID system difficult to implement. This is particularly true in countries where IDs and other
documents can be fraudulently acquired quite easily (i.e., the Philippines).These factors
include:(a) migration; (b) distance from and access to registration centers by citizens and
residents; and (c) ill-equipped and unprepared registration centres.

Conclusion

National ID systems everywhere are always immersed in controversy. This trend is poised to
continue given the growing interest by governments in their potential uses. For the different
stakeholders, the challenge has always been finding the proper balance between upholding
legitimate State interests and those of the individual—the right to privacy being only one of them.

To those keeping a close watch on the impact of ID systems on privacy rights, one positive
development these past few years here in the Philippines has been the passage of the country’s first
comprehensive data protection law: Republic Act No. 10173, also known as the Data Privacy Act of
2012 (DPA). The law provides numerous legal safeguards that ensure the security and protection of
personal data.

With the DPA, all debates surrounding an ID proposal must now be properly guided by the principles
and standards enshrined in the law. The need for such a system must now be pitted against the
dangers its poses and the data security measures prescribed by the DPA. More importantly, if the
proposal were to garner Congressional approval, adopting a “privacy by design” approach and
appropriate accountability mechanisms naturally becomes imperative.

That said, one cannot simply rely on the DPA to keep any national ID system in check. Any privacy
advocate worth his or her salt knows that a significant degree of caution is called for especially
during these troubling times. One should be constantly wary of any effort or measure that aims to
give more power to an administration that already has a stranglehold over all three branches of
government. Giving it also an identity management scheme to tinker with may already be one
measure too many.

[1] Senate Economic Planning Office (2005), National Identification System: Do We Need One?

[2] Privacy International (1996) as cited in Senate Economic Planning Office (2005).

[3]Ketan Mukhija and Yugank Goyal, National Identity Cards: A Step Towards “Better” Governance?
Center for Civil Society, New Delhi, Summer Internship Programme, 2005, p. 3.

[4] Alan Gelb and Julia Clark (2012), Building a Biometric National ID: Lessons for Developing
Countries from India’s Universal ID Program

[5] Privacy International (2018). Identity Policies: The Clash Between Democracy and Biometrics.
Retrieved from: https://privacyinternational.org/node/1100

[6] Aaron K. Martin (2012), National Identity Infrastructures: Lessons from the United Kingdom

[7] Shweta Banerjee (2015). Aadhaar: Digital Inclusion and Public Services in India. Retrieved from:
http://pubdocs.worldbank.org/pubdocs/publicdoc/2016/4/655801461250682317/WDR16-BP-
Aadhaar-Paper-Banerjee.pdf

[8] Kevin P. Donovan and Carly Nyst (2013).Privacy for the Other 5 Billion. Retrieved from:
http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/future_tense/2013/05/aadhaar_and_other_developing_worl
d_biometrics_programs_must_protect_users.html

[9]Privacy International (2018), supra. See also: Want to open a Facebook account? Keep your
Aadhaar card by your side. Published December 27, 2017. Retrieved from:
https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/tech/internet/want-to-open-a-facebook-account-keep-your-
aadhaar-card-by-your-side/articleshow/62267904.cms

[10]Rs 500, 10 minutes, and you have access to billion Aadhaar details, by Rachna Khaira.
Published January 4, 2018. Retrieved from: http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/nation/rs-500-10-
minutes-and-you-have-access-to-billion-aadhaar-details/523361.html

[11]Kilusang Mayo Uno v. Director General of NEDA. G.R. No. 167798. (2006)

[12] Senate Bill No. 1500 filed on July 18, 2017, Senate Bill No. 1510 filed on July 25, 2017, Senate
Bill No. 1577 filed on September 4, 2017, and Senate Bill No. 1579 filed on September 6, 2017.
[13]Chris Schnabel (2016). National ID to benefit unemployed, unbanked Filipinos. Retrieved
from:http://www.rappler.com/business/industries/209-banking-and-financial-services/134125-
national-id-benefit-unemployed

[14]See: SEC bats for national ID system vs dirty money, by Doris Dumlao-Abadilla. Published April
1, 2016, 2:02 AM. Retrieved from: http://business.inquirer.net/209073/sec-bats-for-national-id-
system-vs-dirty-money; and

National ID system to combat crime – senatorial candidate. Published April 4, 2016. Retrieved
from:http://www.update.ph/2016/04/national-id-system-to-combat-crime-senatorial-candidate/3833

[15]National ID system needed to locate disease carriers, says Ona, by Bobby Lagsa. Published
May 2, 2014. Retrieved from: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/599110/national-id-system-needed-to-
locate-disease-carriers-says-ona

[16]Id.

[17]American Civil Liberties Union. 5 Problems with National ID Cards. Retrieved from:
https://www.aclu.org/5-problems-national-id-cards

[18]Solon sees nat’l ID as tool to stifle dissent, by Gerry Baldo. Published May 26, 2015.Retrieved
from: http://www.tribune.net.ph/metro/solon-sees-nat-l-id-as-tool-to-stifle-dissent

[19] Plenary Proceedings of the 17th Congress, Second Regular Session. Vol. 2, No. 21. Friday,
September 8, 2017. http://congress.gov.ph/legisdocs/congrec/17th/2nd/17C2RS-VOL2REC21-
20170908.pdf

[20]Senate to pass national ID system bill by early 2018by Camille Elemia. Published December 04,
2017. Retrieved from: https://www.rappler.com/nation/190328-senate-national-id-system-bill-early-
2018.

o

Republic of the Philippines


Congress of the Philippines
Metro Manila
Fifteenth Congress
Second Regular Session

Begun and held in Metro Manila, on Monday, the twenty-fifth day of July, two thousand eleven.

[REPUBLIC ACT NO. 10173]

AN ACT PROTECTING INDIVIDUAL PERSONAL INFORMATION IN


INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATIONS SYSTEMS IN THE GOVERNMENT AND
THE PRIVATE SECTOR, CREATING FOR THIS PURPOSE A NATIONAL PRIVACY
COMMISSION, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES

Be it enacted, by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Philippines in Congress


assembled:

CHAPTER I
GENERAL PROVISIONS

SECTION 1. Short Title. – This Act shall be known as the “Data Privacy Act of 2012”.

SEC. 2. Declaration of Policy. – It is the policy of the State to protect the fundamental human
right of privacy, of communication while ensuring free flow of information to promote
innovation and growth. The State recognizes the vital role of information and communications
technology in nation-building and its inherent obligation to ensure that personal information in
information and communications systems in the government and in the private sector are secured
and protected.

SEC. 3. Definition of Terms. – Whenever used in this Act, the following terms shall have the
respective meanings hereafter set forth:

(a) Commission shall refer to the National Privacy Commission created by virtue of this Act.

(b) Consent of the data subject refers to any freely given, specific, informed indication of will,
whereby the data subject agrees to the collection and processing of personal information about
and/or relating to him or her. Consent shall be evidenced by written, electronic or recorded
means. It may also be given on behalf of the data subject by an agent specifically authorized by
the data subject to do so.

(c) Data subject refers to an individual whose personal information is processed.

(d) Direct marketing refers to communication by whatever means of any advertising or


marketing material which is directed to particular individuals.
(e) Filing system refers to any act of information relating to natural or juridical persons to the
extent that, although the information is not processed by equipment operating automatically in
response to instructions given for that purpose, the set is structured, either by reference to
individuals or by reference to criteria relating to individuals, in such a way that specific
information relating to a particular person is readily accessible.

(f) Information and Communications System refers to a system for generating, sending,
receiving, storing or otherwise processing electronic data messages or electronic documents and
includes the computer system or other similar device by or which data is recorded, transmitted or
stored and any procedure related to the recording, transmission or storage of electronic data,
electronic message, or electronic document.

(g) Personal information refers to any information whether recorded in a material form or not,
from which the identity of an individual is apparent or can be reasonably and directly ascertained
by the entity holding the information, or when put together with other information would directly
and certainly identify an individual.

(h) Personal information controller refers to a person or organization who controls the
collection, holding, processing or use of personal information, including a person or organization
who instructs another person or organization to collect, hold, process, use, transfer or disclose
personal information on his or her behalf. The term excludes:

(1) A person or organization who performs such functions as instructed by another person or
organization; and

(2) An individual who collects, holds, processes or uses personal information in connection with
the individual’s personal, family or household affairs.

(i) Personal information processor refers to any natural or juridical person qualified to act as
such under this Act to whom a personal information controller may outsource the processing of
personal data pertaining to a data subject.

(j) Processing refers to any operation or any set of operations performed upon personal
information including, but not limited to, the collection, recording, organization, storage,
updating or modification, retrieval, consultation, use, consolidation, blocking, erasure or
destruction of data.

(k) Privileged information refers to any and all forms of data which under the Rules of Court and
other pertinent laws constitute privileged communication.

(l) Sensitive personal information refers to personal information:

(1) About an individual’s race, ethnic origin, marital status, age, color, and religious,
philosophical or political affiliations;

(2) About an individual’s health, education, genetic or sexual life of a person, or to any
proceeding for any offense committed or alleged to have been committed by such person, the
disposal of such proceedings, or the sentence of any court in such proceedings;
(3) Issued by government agencies peculiar to an individual which includes, but not limited to,
social security numbers, previous or cm-rent health records, licenses or its denials, suspension or
revocation, and tax returns; and

(4) Specifically established by an executive order or an act of Congress to be kept classified.

SEC. 4. Scope. – This Act applies to the processing of all types of personal information and to
any natural and juridical person involved in personal information processing including those
personal information controllers and processors who, although not found or established in the
Philippines, use equipment that are located in the Philippines, or those who maintain an office,
branch or agency in the Philippines subject to the immediately succeeding paragraph: Provided,
That the requirements of Section 5 are complied with.

This Act does not apply to the following:

(a) Information about any individual who is or was an officer or employee of a government
institution that relates to the position or functions of the individual, including:

(1) The fact that the individual is or was an officer or employee of the government institution;

(2) The title, business address and office telephone number of the individual;

(3) The classification, salary range and responsibilities of the position held by the individual; and

(4) The name of the individual on a document prepared by the individual in the course of
employment with the government;

(b) Information about an individual who is or was performing service under contract for a
government institution that relates to the services performed, including the terms of the contract,
and the name of the individual given in the course of the performance of those services;

(c) Information relating to any discretionary benefit of a financial nature such as the granting of a
license or permit given by the government to an individual, including the name of the individual
and the exact nature of the benefit;

(d) Personal information processed for journalistic, artistic, literary or research purposes;

(e) Information necessary in order to carry out the functions of public authority which includes
the processing of personal data for the performance by the independent, central monetary
authority and law enforcement and regulatory agencies of their constitutionally and statutorily
mandated functions. Nothing in this Act shall be construed as to have amended or repealed
Republic Act No. 1405, otherwise known as the Secrecy of Bank Deposits Act; Republic Act
No. 6426, otherwise known as the Foreign Currency Deposit Act; and Republic Act No. 9510,
otherwise known as the Credit Information System Act (CISA);

(f) Information necessary for banks and other financial institutions under the jurisdiction of the
independent, central monetary authority or Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas to comply with Republic
Act No. 9510, and Republic Act No. 9160, as amended, otherwise known as the Anti-Money
Laundering Act and other applicable laws; and

(g) Personal information originally collected from residents of foreign jurisdictions in


accordance with the laws of those foreign jurisdictions, including any applicable data privacy
laws, which is being processed in the Philippines.

SEC. 5. Protection Afforded to Journalists and Their Sources. – Nothing in this Act shall be
construed as to have amended or repealed the provisions of Republic Act No. 53, which affords
the publishers, editors or duly accredited reporters of any newspaper, magazine or periodical of
general circulation protection from being compelled to reveal the source of any news report or
information appearing in said publication which was related in any confidence to such publisher,
editor, or reporter.

SEC. 6. Extraterritorial Application. – This Act applies to an act done or practice engaged in and
outside of the Philippines by an entity if:

(a) The act, practice or processing relates to personal information about a Philippine citizen or a
resident;

(b) The entity has a link with the Philippines, and the entity is processing personal information in
the Philippines or even if the processing is outside the Philippines as long as it is about
Philippine citizens or residents such as, but not limited to, the following:

(1) A contract is entered in the Philippines;

(2) A juridical entity unincorporated in the Philippines but has central management and control
in the country; and

(3) An entity that has a branch, agency, office or subsidiary in the Philippines and the parent or
affiliate of the Philippine entity has access to personal information; and

(c) The entity has other links in the Philippines such as, but not limited to:

(1) The entity carries on business in the Philippines; and

(2) The personal information was collected or held by an entity in the Philippines.

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CHAPTER II
THE NATIONAL PRIVACY COMMISSION

SEC. 7. Functions of the National Privacy Commission. – To administer and implement the
provisions of this Act, and to monitor and ensure compliance of the country with international
standards set for data protection, there is hereby created an independent body to be known as the
National Privacy Commission, winch shall have the following functions:

(a) Ensure compliance of personal information controllers with the provisions of this Act;
(b) Receive complaints, institute investigations, facilitate or enable settlement of complaints
through the use of alternative dispute resolution processes, adjudicate, award indemnity on
matters affecting any personal information, prepare reports on disposition of complaints and
resolution of any investigation it initiates, and, in cases it deems appropriate, publicize any such
report: Provided, That in resolving any complaint or investigation (except where amicable
settlement is reached by the parties), the Commission shall act as a collegial body. For this
purpose, the Commission may be given access to personal information that is subject of any
complaint and to collect the information necessary to perform its functions under this Act;

(c) Issue cease and desist orders, impose a temporary or permanent ban on the processing of
personal information, upon finding that the processing will be detrimental to national security
and public interest;

(d) Compel or petition any entity, government agency or instrumentality to abide by its orders or
take action on a matter affecting data privacy;

(e) Monitor the compliance of other government agencies or instrumentalities on their security
and technical measures and recommend the necessary action in order to meet minimum
standards for protection of personal information pursuant to this Act;

(f) Coordinate with other government agencies and the private sector on efforts to formulate and
implement plans and policies to strengthen the protection of personal information in the country;

(g) Publish on a regular basis a guide to all laws relating to data protection;

(h) Publish a compilation of agency system of records and notices, including index and other
finding aids;

(i) Recommend to the Department of Justice (DOJ) the prosecution and imposition of penalties
specified in Sections 25 to 29 of this Act;

(j) Review, approve, reject or require modification of privacy codes voluntarily adhered to by
personal information controllers:Provided, That the privacy codes shall adhere to the underlying
data privacy principles embodied in this Act: Provided, further,That such privacy codes may
include private dispute resolution mechanisms for complaints against any participating personal
information controller. For this purpose, the Commission shall consult with relevant regulatory
agencies in the formulation and administration of privacy codes applying the standards set out in
this Act, with respect to the persons, entities, business activities and business sectors that said
regulatory bodies are authorized to principally regulate pursuant to the law: Provided, finally.
That the Commission may review such privacy codes and require changes thereto for purposes of
complying with this Act;

(k) Provide assistance on matters relating to privacy or data protection at the request of a national
or local agency, a private entity or any person;

(l) Comment on the implication on data privacy of proposed national or local statutes,
regulations or procedures, issue advisory opinions and interpret the provisions of this Act and
other data privacy laws;
(m) Propose legislation, amendments or modifications to Philippine laws on privacy or data
protection as may be necessary;

(n) Ensure proper and effective coordination with data privacy regulators in other countries and
private accountability agents, participate in international and regional initiatives for data privacy
protection;

(o) Negotiate and contract with other data privacy authorities of other countries for cross-border
application and implementation of respective privacy laws;

(p) Assist Philippine companies doing business abroad to respond to foreign privacy or data
protection laws and regulations; and

(q) Generally perform such acts as may be necessary to facilitate cross-border enforcement of
data privacy protection.

SEC. 8. Confidentiality. – The Commission shall ensure at all times the confidentiality of any
personal information that comes to its knowledge and possession.

SEC. 9. Organizational Structure of the Commission. – The Commission shall be attached to the
Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and shall be headed by a
Privacy Commissioner, who shall also act as Chairman of the Commission. The Privacy
Commissioner shall be assisted by two (2) Deputy Privacy Commissioners, one to be responsible
for Data Processing Systems and one to be responsible for Policies and Planning. The Privacy
Commissioner and the two (2) Deputy Privacy Commissioners shall be appointed by the
President of the Philippines for a term of three (3) years, and may be reappointed for another
term of three (3) years. Vacancies in the Commission shall be filled in the same manner in which
the original appointment was made.

The Privacy Commissioner must be at least thirty-five (35) years of age and of good moral
character, unquestionable integrity and known probity, and a recognized expert in the field of
information technology and data privacy. The Privacy Commissioner shall enjoy the benefits,
privileges and emoluments equivalent to the rank of Secretary.

The Deputy Privacy Commissioners must be recognized experts in the field of information and
communications technology and data privacy. They shall enjoy the benefits, privileges and
emoluments equivalent to the rank of Undersecretary.

The Privacy Commissioner, the Deputy Commissioners, or any person acting on their behalf or
under their direction, shall not be civilly liable for acts done in good faith in the performance of
their duties. However, he or she shall be liable for willful or negligent acts done by him or her
which are contrary to law, morals, public policy and good customs even if he or she acted under
orders or instructions of superiors: Provided, That in case a lawsuit is filed against such official
on the subject of the performance of his or her duties, where such performance is lawful, he or
she shall be reimbursed by the Commission for reasonable costs of litigation.

SEC. 10. The Secretariat. – The Commission is hereby authorized to establish a Secretariat.
Majority of the members of the Secretariat must have served for at least five (5) years in any
agency of the government that is involved in the processing of personal information including,
but not limited to, the following offices: Social Security System (SSS), Government Service
Insurance System (GSIS), Land Transportation Office (LTO), Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR),
Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), Commission on Elections (COMELEC),
Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Department of Justice (DOJ), and Philippine Postal
Corporation (Philpost).

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CHAPTER III
PROCESSING OF PERSONAL INFORMATION

SEC. 11. General Data Privacy Principles. – The processing of personal information shall be
allowed, subject to compliance with the requirements of this Act and other laws allowing
disclosure of information to the public and adherence to the principles of transparency, legitimate
purpose and proportionality.

Personal information must, be:,

(a) Collected for specified and legitimate purposes determined and declared before, or as soon as
reasonably practicable after collection, and later processed in a way compatible with such
declared, specified and legitimate purposes only;

(b) Processed fairly and lawfully;

(c) Accurate, relevant and, where necessary for purposes for which it is to be used the processing
of personal information, kept up to date; inaccurate or incomplete data must be rectified,
supplemented, destroyed or their further processing restricted;

(d) Adequate and not excessive in relation to the purposes for which they are collected and
processed;

(e) Retained only for as long as necessary for the fulfillment of the purposes for which the data
was obtained or for the establishment, exercise or defense of legal claims, or for legitimate
business purposes, or as provided by law; and

(f) Kept in a form which permits identification of data subjects for no longer than is necessary
for the purposes for which the data were collected and processed: Provided, That personal
information collected for other purposes may lie processed for historical, statistical or scientific
purposes, and in cases laid down in law may be stored for longer periods: Provided, further,That
adequate safeguards are guaranteed by said laws authorizing their processing.

The personal information controller must ensure implementation of personal information


processing principles set out herein.

SEC. 12. Criteria for Lawful Processing of Personal Information. – The processing of personal
information shall be permitted only if not otherwise prohibited by law, and when at least one of
the following conditions exists:
(a) The data subject has given his or her consent;

(b) The processing of personal information is necessary and is related to the fulfillment of a
contract with the data subject or in order to take steps at the request of the data subject prior to
entering into a contract;

(c) The processing is necessary for compliance with a legal obligation to which the personal
information controller is subject;

(d) The processing is necessary to protect vitally important interests of the data subject, including
life and health;

(e) The processing is necessary in order to respond to national emergency, to comply with the
requirements of public order and safety, or to fulfill functions of public authority which
necessarily includes the processing of personal data for the fulfillment of its mandate; or

(f) The processing is necessary for the purposes of the legitimate interests pursued by the
personal information controller or by a third party or parties to whom the data is disclosed,
except where such interests are overridden by fundamental rights and freedoms of the data
subject which require protection under the Philippine Constitution.

SEC. 13. Sensitive Personal Information and Privileged Information. – The processing of
sensitive personal information and privileged information shall be prohibited, except in the
following cases:

(a) The data subject has given his or her consent, specific to the purpose prior to the processing,
or in the case of privileged information, all parties to the exchange have given their consent prior
to processing;

(b) The processing of the same is provided for by existing laws and regulations: Provided, That
such regulatory enactments guarantee the protection of the sensitive personal information and the
privileged information: Provided, further, That the consent of the data subjects are not required
by law or regulation permitting the processing of the sensitive personal information or the
privileged information;

(c) The processing is necessary to protect the life and health of the data subject or another
person, and the data subject is not legally or physically able to express his or her consent prior to
the processing;

(d) The processing is necessary to achieve the lawful and noncommercial objectives of public
organizations and their associations: Provided, That such processing is only confined and related
to the bona fide members of these organizations or their associations: Provided, further, That the
sensitive personal information are not transferred to third parties: Provided, finally, That consent
of the data subject was obtained prior to processing;

(e) The processing is necessary for purposes of medical treatment, is carried out by a medical
practitioner or a medical treatment institution, and an adequate level of protection of personal
information is ensured; or
(f) The processing concerns such personal information as is necessary for the protection of
lawful rights and interests of natural or legal persons in court proceedings, or the establishment,
exercise or defense of legal claims, or when provided to government or public authority.

SEC. 14. Subcontract of Personal Information. – A personal information controller may


subcontract the processing of personal information: Provided, That the personal information
controller shall be responsible for ensuring that proper safeguards are in place to ensure the
confidentiality of the personal information processed, prevent its use for unauthorized purposes,
and generally, comply with the requirements of this Act and other laws for processing of
personal information. The personal information processor shall comply with all the requirements
of this Act and other applicable laws.

SEC. 15. Extension of Privileged Communication. – Personal information controllers may invoke
the principle of privileged communication over privileged information that they lawfully control
or process. Subject to existing laws and regulations, any evidence gathered on privileged
information is inadmissible.

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CHAPTER IV
RIGHTS OF THE DATA SUBJECT

SEC. 16. Rights of the Data Subject. – The data subject is entitled to:

(a) Be informed whether personal information pertaining to him or her shall be, are being or have
been processed;

(b) Be furnished the information indicated hereunder before the entry of his or her personal
information into the processing system of the personal information controller, or at the next
practical opportunity:

(1) Description of the personal information to be entered into the system;

(2) Purposes for which they are being or are to be processed;

(3) Scope and method of the personal information processing;

(4) The recipients or classes of recipients to whom they are or may be disclosed;

(5) Methods utilized for automated access, if the same is allowed by the data subject, and the
extent to which such access is authorized;

(6) The identity and contact details of the personal information controller or its representative;

(7) The period for which the information will be stored; and

(8) The existence of their rights, i.e., to access, correction, as well as the right to lodge a
complaint before the Commission.
Any information supplied or declaration made to the data subject on these matters shall not be
amended without prior notification of data subject: Provided, That the notification under
subsection (b) shall not apply should the personal information be needed pursuant to a subpoena
or when the collection and processing are for obvious purposes, including when it is necessary
for the performance of or in relation to a contract or service or when necessary or desirable in the
context of an employer-employee relationship, between the collector and the data subject, or
when the information is being collected and processed as a result of legal obligation;

(c) Reasonable access to, upon demand, the following:

(1) Contents of his or her personal information that were processed;

(2) Sources from which personal information were obtained;

(3) Names and addresses of recipients of the personal information;

(4) Manner by which such data were processed;

(5) Reasons for the disclosure of the personal information to recipients;

(6) Information on automated processes where the data will or likely to be made as the sole basis
for any decision significantly affecting or will affect the data subject;

(7) Date when his or her personal information concerning the data subject were last accessed and
modified; and

(8) The designation, or name or identity and address of the personal information controller;

(d) Dispute the inaccuracy or error in the personal information and have the personal information
controller correct it immediately and accordingly, unless the request is vexatious or otherwise
unreasonable. If the personal information have been corrected, the personal information
controller shall ensure the accessibility of both the new and the retracted information and the
simultaneous receipt of the new and the retracted information by recipients thereof: Provided,
That the third parties who have previously received such processed personal information shall he
informed of its inaccuracy and its rectification upon reasonable request of the data subject;

(e) Suspend, withdraw or order the blocking, removal or destruction of his or her personal
information from the personal information controller’s filing system upon discovery and
substantial proof that the personal information are incomplete, outdated, false, unlawfully
obtained, used for unauthorized purposes or are no longer necessary for the purposes for which
they were collected. In this case, the personal information controller may notify third parties who
have previously received such processed personal information; and

(f) Be indemnified for any damages sustained due to such inaccurate, incomplete, outdated, false,
unlawfully obtained or unauthorized use of personal information.

SEC. 17. Transmissibility of Rights of the Data Subject. – The lawful heirs and assigns of the
data subject may invoke the rights of the data subject for, which he or she is an heir or assignee
at any time after the death of the data subject or when the data subject is incapacitated or
incapable of exercising the rights as enumerated in the immediately preceding section.

SEC. 18. Right to Data Portability. – The data subject shall have the right, where personal
information is processed by electronic means and in a structured and commonly used format, to
obtain from the personal information controller a copy of data undergoing processing in an
electronic or structured format, which is commonly used and allows for further use by the data
subject. The Commission may specify the electronic format referred to above, as well as the
technical standards, modalities and procedures for their transfer.

SEC. 19. Non-Applicability. – The immediately preceding sections are not applicable if the
processed personal information are used only for the needs of scientific and statistical research
and, on the basis of such, no activities are carried out and no decisions are taken regarding the
data subject: Provided, That the personal information shall be held under strict confidentiality
and shall be used only for the declared purpose. Likewise, the immediately preceding sections
are not applicable to processing of personal information gathered for the purpose of
investigations in relation to any criminal, administrative or tax liabilities of a data subject.

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CHAPTER V
SECURITY OF PERSONAL INFORMATION

SEC. 20. Security of Personal Information. – (a) The personal information controller must
implement reasonable and appropriate organizational, physical and technical measures intended
for the protection of personal information against any accidental or unlawful destruction,
alteration and disclosure, as well as against any other unlawful processing.

(b) The personal information controller shall implement reasonable and appropriate measures to
protect personal information against natural dangers such as accidental loss or destruction, and
human dangers such as unlawful access, fraudulent misuse, unlawful destruction, alteration and
contamination.

(c) The determination of the appropriate level of security under this section must take into
account the nature of the personal information to be protected, the risks represented by the
processing, the size of the organization and complexity of its operations, current data privacy
best practices and the cost of security implementation. Subject to guidelines as the Commission
may issue from time to time, the measures implemented must include:

(1) Safeguards to protect its computer network against accidental, unlawful or unauthorized
usage or interference with or hindering of their functioning or availability;

(2) A security policy with respect to the processing of personal information;

(3) A process for identifying and accessing reasonably foreseeable vulnerabilities in its computer
networks, and for taking preventive, corrective and mitigating action against security incidents
that can lead to a security breach; and
(4) Regular monitoring for security breaches and a process for taking preventive, corrective and
mitigating action against security incidents that can lead to a security breach.

(d) The personal information controller must further ensure that third parties processing personal
information on its behalf shall implement the security measures required by this provision.

(e) The employees, agents or representatives of a personal information controller who are
involved in the processing of personal information shall operate and hold personal information
under strict confidentiality if the personal information are not intended for public disclosure. This
obligation shall continue even after leaving the public service, transfer to another position or
upon termination of employment or contractual relations.

(f) The personal information controller shall promptly notify the Commission and affected data
subjects when sensitive personal information or other information that may, under the
circumstances, be used to enable identity fraud are reasonably believed to have been acquired by
an unauthorized person, and the personal information controller or the Commission believes (bat
such unauthorized acquisition is likely to give rise to a real risk of serious harm to any affected
data subject. The notification shall at least describe the nature of the breach, the sensitive
personal information possibly involved, and the measures taken by the entity to address the
breach. Notification may be delayed only to the extent necessary to determine the scope of the
breach, to prevent further disclosures, or to restore reasonable integrity to the information and
communications system.

(1) In evaluating if notification is unwarranted, the Commission may take into account
compliance by the personal information controller with this section and existence of good faith in
the acquisition of personal information.

(2) The Commission may exempt a personal information controller from notification where, in
its reasonable judgment, such notification would not be in the public interest or in the interests of
the affected data subjects.

(3) The Commission may authorize postponement of notification where it may hinder the
progress of a criminal investigation related to a serious breach.

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CHAPTER VI
ACCOUNTABILITY FOR TRANSFER OF PERSONAL INFORMATION

SEC. 21. Principle of Accountability. – Each personal information controller is responsible for
personal information under its control or custody, including information that have been
transferred to a third party for processing, whether domestically or internationally, subject to
cross-border arrangement and cooperation.

(a) The personal information controller is accountable for complying with the requirements of
this Act and shall use contractual or other reasonable means to provide a comparable level of
protection while the information are being processed by a third party.
(b) The personal information controller shall designate an individual or individuals who are
accountable for the organization’s compliance with this Act. The identity of the individual(s) so
designated shall be made known to any data subject upon request.

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CHAPTER VII
SECURITY OF SENSITIVE PERSONAL
INFORMATION IN GOVERNMENT

SEC. 22. Responsibility of Heads of Agencies. – All sensitive personal information maintained
by the government, its agencies and instrumentalities shall be secured, as far as practicable, with
the use of the most appropriate standard recognized by the information and communications
technology industry, and as recommended by the Commission. The head of each government
agency or instrumentality shall be responsible for complying with the security requirements
mentioned herein while the Commission shall monitor the compliance and may recommend the
necessary action in order to satisfy the minimum standards.

SEC. 23. Requirements Relating to Access by Agency Personnel to Sensitive Personal


Information. – (a) On-site and Online Access – Except as may be allowed through guidelines to
be issued by the Commission, no employee of the government shall have access to sensitive
personal information on government property or through online facilities unless the employee
has received a security clearance from the head of the source agency.

(b) Off-site Access – Unless otherwise provided in guidelines to be issued by the Commission,
sensitive personal information maintained by an agency may not be transported or accessed from
a location off government property unless a request for such transportation or access is submitted
and approved by the head of the agency in accordance with the following guidelines:

(1) Deadline for Approval or Disapproval – In the case of any request submitted to the head of an
agency, such head of the agency shall approve or disapprove the request within two (2) business
days after the date of submission of the request. In case there is no action by the head of the
agency, then such request is considered disapproved;

(2) Limitation to One thousand (1,000) Records – If a request is approved, the head of the
agency shall limit the access to not more than one thousand (1,000) records at a time; and

(3) Encryption – Any technology used to store, transport or access sensitive personal information
for purposes of off-site access approved under this subsection shall be secured by the use of the
most secure encryption standard recognized by the Commission.

The requirements of this subsection shall be implemented not later than six (6) months after the
date of the enactment of this Act.

SEC. 24. Applicability to Government Contractors. – In entering into any contract that may
involve accessing or requiring sensitive personal information from one thousand (1,000) or more
individuals, an agency shall require a contractor and its employees to register their personal
information processing system with the Commission in accordance with this Act and to comply
with the other provisions of this Act including the immediately preceding section, in the same
manner as agencies and government employees comply with such requirements.

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CHAPTER VIII
PENALTIES

SEC. 25. Unauthorized Processing of Personal Information and Sensitive Personal Information.
– (a) The unauthorized processing of personal information shall be penalized by imprisonment
ranging from one (1) year to three (3) years and a fine of not less than Five hundred thousand
pesos (Php500,000.00) but not more than Two million pesos (Php2,000,000.00) shall be imposed
on persons who process personal information without the consent of the data subject, or without
being authorized under this Act or any existing law.

(b) The unauthorized processing of personal sensitive information shall be penalized by


imprisonment ranging from three (3) years to six (6) years and a fine of not less than Five
hundred thousand pesos (Php500,000.00) but not more than Four million pesos
(Php4,000,000.00) shall be imposed on persons who process personal information without the
consent of the data subject, or without being authorized under this Act or any existing law.

SEC. 26. Accessing Personal Information and Sensitive Personal Information Due to
Negligence. – (a) Accessing personal information due to negligence shall be penalized by
imprisonment ranging from one (1) year to three (3) years and a fine of not less than Five
hundred thousand pesos (Php500,000.00) but not more than Two million pesos
(Php2,000,000.00) shall be imposed on persons who, due to negligence, provided access to
personal information without being authorized under this Act or any existing law.

(b) Accessing sensitive personal information due to negligence shall be penalized by


imprisonment ranging from three (3) years to six (6) years and a fine of not less than Five
hundred thousand pesos (Php500,000.00) but not more than Four million pesos
(Php4,000,000.00) shall be imposed on persons who, due to negligence, provided access to
personal information without being authorized under this Act or any existing law.

SEC. 27. Improper Disposal of Personal Information and Sensitive Personal Information. – (a)
The improper disposal of personal information shall be penalized by imprisonment ranging from
six (6) months to two (2) years and a fine of not less than One hundred thousand pesos
(Php100,000.00) but not more than Five hundred thousand pesos (Php500,000.00) shall be
imposed on persons who knowingly or negligently dispose, discard or abandon the personal
information of an individual in an area accessible to the public or has otherwise placed the
personal information of an individual in its container for trash collection.

(b) The improper disposal of sensitive personal information shall be penalized by imprisonment
ranging from one (1) year to three (3) years and a fine of not less than One hundred thousand
pesos (Php100,000.00) but not more than One million pesos (Php1,000,000.00) shall be imposed
on persons who knowingly or negligently dispose, discard or abandon the personal information
of an individual in an area accessible to the public or has otherwise placed the personal
information of an individual in its container for trash collection.
SEC. 28. Processing of Personal Information and Sensitive Personal Information for
Unauthorized Purposes. – The processing of personal information for unauthorized purposes
shall be penalized by imprisonment ranging from one (1) year and six (6) months to five (5)
years and a fine of not less than Five hundred thousand pesos (Php500,000.00) but not more than
One million pesos (Php1,000,000.00) shall be imposed on persons processing personal
information for purposes not authorized by the data subject, or otherwise authorized under this
Act or under existing laws.

The processing of sensitive personal information for unauthorized purposes shall be penalized by
imprisonment ranging from two (2) years to seven (7) years and a fine of not less than Five
hundred thousand pesos (Php500,000.00) but not more than Two million pesos
(Php2,000,000.00) shall be imposed on persons processing sensitive personal information for
purposes not authorized by the data subject, or otherwise authorized under this Act or under
existing laws.

SEC. 29. Unauthorized Access or Intentional Breach. – The penalty of imprisonment ranging
from one (1) year to three (3) years and a fine of not less than Five hundred thousand pesos
(Php500,000.00) but not more than Two million pesos (Php2,000,000.00) shall be imposed on
persons who knowingly and unlawfully, or violating data confidentiality and security data
systems, breaks in any way into any system where personal and sensitive personal information is
stored.

SEC. 30. Concealment of Security Breaches Involving Sensitive Personal Information. – The
penalty of imprisonment of one (1) year and six (6) months to five (5) years and a fine of not less
than Five hundred thousand pesos (Php500,000.00) but not more than One million pesos
(Php1,000,000.00) shall be imposed on persons who, after having knowledge of a security
breach and of the obligation to notify the Commission pursuant to Section 20(f), intentionally or
by omission conceals the fact of such security breach.

SEC. 31. Malicious Disclosure. – Any personal information controller or personal information
processor or any of its officials, employees or agents, who, with malice or in bad faith, discloses
unwarranted or false information relative to any personal information or personal sensitive
information obtained by him or her, shall be subject to imprisonment ranging from one (1) year
and six (6) months to five (5) years and a fine of not less than Five hundred thousand pesos
(Php500,000.00) but not more than One million pesos (Php1,000,000.00).

SEC. 32. Unauthorized Disclosure. – (a) Any personal information controller or personal
information processor or any of its officials, employees or agents, who discloses to a third party
personal information not covered by the immediately preceding section without the consent of
the data subject, shall he subject to imprisonment ranging from one (1) year to three (3) years
and a fine of not less than Five hundred thousand pesos (Php500,000.00) but not more than One
million pesos (Php1,000,000.00).

(b) Any personal information controller or personal information processor or any of its officials,
employees or agents, who discloses to a third party sensitive personal information not covered by
the immediately preceding section without the consent of the data subject, shall be subject to
imprisonment ranging from three (3) years to five (5) years and a fine of not less than Five
hundred thousand pesos (Php500,000.00) but not more than Two million pesos
(Php2,000,000.00).

SEC. 33. Combination or Series of Acts. – Any combination or series of acts as defined in
Sections 25 to 32 shall make the person subject to imprisonment ranging from three (3) years to
six (6) years and a fine of not less than One million pesos (Php1,000,000.00) but not more than
Five million pesos (Php5,000,000.00).

SEC. 34. Extent of Liability. – If the offender is a corporation, partnership or any juridical
person, the penalty shall be imposed upon the responsible officers, as the case may be, who
participated in, or by their gross negligence, allowed the commission of the crime. If the offender
is a juridical person, the court may suspend or revoke any of its rights under this Act. If the
offender is an alien, he or she shall, in addition to the penalties herein prescribed, be deported
without further proceedings after serving the penalties prescribed. If the offender is a public
official or employee and lie or she is found guilty of acts penalized under Sections 27 and 28 of
this Act, he or she shall, in addition to the penalties prescribed herein, suffer perpetual or
temporary absolute disqualification from office, as the case may be.

SEC. 35. Large-Scale. – The maximum penalty in the scale of penalties respectively provided for
the preceding offenses shall be imposed when the personal information of at least one hundred
(100) persons is harmed, affected or involved as the result of the above mentioned actions.

SEC. 36. Offense Committed by Public Officer. – When the offender or the person responsible
for the offense is a public officer as defined in the Administrative Code of the Philippines in the
exercise of his or her duties, an accessory penalty consisting in the disqualification to occupy
public office for a term double the term of criminal penalty imposed shall he applied.

SEC. 37. Restitution. – Restitution for any aggrieved party shall be governed by the provisions of
the New Civil Code.

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CHAPTER IX
MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS

SEC. 38. Interpretation. – Any doubt in the interpretation of any provision of this Act shall be
liberally interpreted in a manner mindful of the rights and interests of the individual about whom
personal information is processed.

SEC. 39. Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR). – Within ninety (90) days from the
effectivity of this Act, the Commission shall promulgate the rules and regulations to effectively
implement the provisions of this Act.

SEC. 40. Reports and Information. – The Commission shall annually report to the President and
Congress on its activities in carrying out the provisions of this Act. The Commission shall
undertake whatever efforts it may determine to be necessary or appropriate to inform and educate
the public of data privacy, data protection and fair information rights and responsibilities.
SEC. 41. Appropriations Clause. – The Commission shall be provided with an initial
appropriation of Twenty million pesos (Php20,000,000.00) to be drawn from the national
government. Appropriations for the succeeding years shall be included in the General
Appropriations Act. It shall likewise receive Ten million pesos (Php10,000,000.00) per year for
five (5) years upon implementation of this Act drawn from the national government.

SEC. 42. Transitory Provision. – Existing industries, businesses and offices affected by the
implementation of this Act shall be given one (1) year transitory period from the effectivity of
the IRR or such other period as may be determined by the Commission, to comply with the
requirements of this Act.

In case that the DICT has not yet been created by the time the law takes full force and effect, the
National Privacy Commission shall be attached to the Office of the President.

SEC. 43. Separability Clause. – If any provision or part hereof is held invalid or
unconstitutional, the remainder of the law or the provision not otherwise affected shall remain
valid and subsisting.

SEC. 44. Repealing Clause. – The provision of Section 7 of Republic Act No. 9372, otherwise
known as the “Human Security Act of 2007”, is hereby amended. Except as otherwise expressly
provided in this Act, all other laws, decrees, executive orders, proclamations and administrative
regulations or parts thereof inconsistent herewith are hereby repealed or modified accordingly.

SEC. 45. Effectivity Clause. – This Act shall take effect fifteen (15) days after its publication in
at least two (2) national newspapers of general circulation.

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Approved,

(Sgd.) FELICIANO BELMONTE JR. Speaker of the House of Representatives (Sgd.) JUAN PONCE ENRILE Pre

This Act which is a consolidation of Senate Bill No. 2965 and House Bill No. 4115 was finally passed by
the Senate and the House of Representatives on June 6, 2012.

(Sgd.) MARILYN B. BARUA-YAP Secretary General House of Representatives (Sgd.) EMMA LIRIO-REYES Secre

Approved: AUG 15 2012

(Sgd.) BENIGNO S. AQUINO III President of the Philippines


According to Rose Marie M. King-Dominguez, Partner at SyCip Salazar Hernandez & Gatmaitan, as
a result of the average citizen in the Philippines reportedly spending about an hour and a half more
on the internet than the average user on a global basis, its OOTD-sharing population has helped it
earn the unofficial title of social media capital of the world. Personal data in the Philippines appears
to be on a digital tap: free flowing and plentiful. Rose Marie examines the impact of the Philippines'
new privacy framework in such a world and the challenges it poses for the jurisdiction and for those
operating within it.

In a 2014 case1, the Philippine Supreme Court rejected a Facebook user's claim that her right to
privacy (over photos of herself in swimwear) had been violated, observing that the user had lost an
expectation of privacy when she failed to properly deploy the platform's privacy tools. The Supreme
Court reiterated this view in a more recent case2 that upheld a lawyer's suspension from the practice
of law for his `Facebook posts maligning and insulting' the complainant, a famous beauty doctor who
counted local movie stars as clients.

The Court did not accept the lawyer's argument that the statements were private since he had
restricted access to the page to `Friends Only,' further observing that `even if the Court were to
accept the [lawyer's] allegation that his posts were limited to or viewable by his `Friends' only, there
is no assurance that the same [...] will be safeguarded as within the confines of privacy.' It noted the
social media platform's goal of allowing `the world to be more open and connected [...] in every
conceivable way,' the implied message being that a person who shares information on social media
shouldn't be surprised or angry if that information actually does get shared.

So is privacy dead in the Philippines? Not quite, and under a new regulatory regime on data
protection, perennially connected Filipinos may actually become much more conscious and vigilant
about their privacy.

A new privacy regime

Partly in line with the Philippines' agreements under ASEAN Vision 2020 (a plan adopted by
members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to create an EU-like economic community),
partly at the urging of the local business process outsourcing industry, the Philippines passed
Republic Act No. 10173 or the Data Privacy Act of 2012 (`DPA'). The DPA is founded on `the
policy of the State to protect the fundamental human right to privacy of communication while
ensuring free flow of information to promote innovation and growth [and] the [State's] inherent
obligation to ensure that personal information in information and communications systems in
government and in the private sector are secured and protected3.' Its `twin' bill (since it aims to
promote cyber security), Republic Act No. 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act, was also passed
in 2012.

In a nutshell, the DPA:

 Regulates the collection and

 processing of data that enables identification of individuals;

 Requires that collection and processing of personal data must have a lawful basis or `criteria
for lawful processing,' e.g. consent;

 Requires that personal information controllers and processors adhere to the general privacy
principles of transparency, legitimate purpose and proportionality;

 Identifies rights of data subjects that personal information controllers and processors must
observe;

 Sets out certain measures and steps that personal information controllers and processors need
to comply with; and,

 Sanctions violations of the law.

The DPA was modelled after the Data Protection Directive (95/46/ EC) and adopts terminology and
principles common to many current privacy regimes and policies.

For example, it makes a distinction between personal information and sensitive personal information,
with the latter being data that involves matters such as age, marital status, ethnicity, religion and
sexual orientation. The requirements and standards for collecting and processing sensitive personal
information are more restrictive.

A distinction is also made between personal information controllers and personal information
processors, processors being persons to whom controllers may outsource processing of personal data.
But while processing can be subcontracted, the controller remains responsible for ensuring the
confidentiality of data, and can be made liable for damages to a data subject, even if the processor
was at fault. The DPA's key touchstones are the principles of transparency (`the data subject must be
aware of the nature, purpose, and extent of processing')4, legitimate purpose (`processing [...] shall
be compatible with a declared and specified purpose') and proportionality (`retention of personal data
shall only be for as long as necessary')5 and the DPA reiterates them in specific expressions of
principles for collection, processing, retention and data sharing. Prior to the DPA, personal
information found protection under general privacy principles set out in the Philippine Constitution,
the Civil Code, and the Electronic Commerce Act (Republic Act No. 8792) 2000, as well as a
number of rules and policies that tackled specific types of data such as bank accounts, data in
electronic form, information about HIV patients, and recordings of conversations. Thus, the DPA is
the Philippines' first privacy statute with a general application.

A new regulator

The DPA also creates the National Privacy Commission (`NPC'), the agency tasked with
administering and implementing the provisions of the DPA. The NPC is headed by a Privacy
Commissioner, assisted by two Deputy Commissioners. It is attached to the Department of
Information and Communications Technology (`DICT'), which itself was only created in 2016 or
about four years after the enactment of the DPA; this created a kind of legal anachronism since the
DPA had provided that the NPC would be attached to the then non-existent DICT.

As for the NPC, it was only formally organised in 2016, and has had to work double-time to put the
DPA into effect. The NPC issued implementing rules and regulations (`IRRs') for the DPA on 24
August 2016, as well as four circulars in the last quarter of 2016, including one on personal data
breach management, and another on rules of procedure for complaints for violations of the DPA.

DPA to-do list

Those covered by the DPA will also have to work double-time to understand the DPA and how it
impacts them.

Apart from needing to adopt and observe the basic regulatory framework of the DPA so that, for
instance, persons that regularly collect and use personal data from employees, customers, suppliers,
site browsers, etc. must now be mindful that this is done with consent, these persons may also have
to:

 appoint a Data Protection Officer who will be accountable for ensuring compliance with the
DPA;

 adopt data protection policies that provide for organisation, physical, and technical security
measures (including a policy for security incident management);

 create a data breach response team to ensure timely action in the event of a security incident
or personal data breach;
 document outsourcing and data sharing arrangements to comply with DPA requirements; and

 register data processing systems (‘DPS’) operating in the Philippines with the NPC.

In respect of the registration requirement, not all controllers or processors with a DPS operating in
the Philippines need to comply. A person with fewer than 250 employees need not register their DPS
unless (a) the processing it carries out is likely to pose a risk to the rights and freedoms of data
subjects, (b) the processing is not occasional, or (c) the processing includes sensitive personal
information of at least 1,000 individuals. The IRRs provides a period of one year from the rules’
efectivity (or until 9 September 2017) to comply with the registration requirement.

NPC Circular No. 16-03, dated 15 December 2016, provides the details for a data breach notification
requirement. Notification of the NPC and the data subject is generally required when the data breach
involves sensitive personal information or any other information that may be used to enable identity
fraud, this information has been acquired by an unauthorised person, and the acquisition is likely to
give rise to a real risk of serious harm to the afected data subject. Notification should be done within
72 hours upon knowledge of the breach or reasonable belief that it has occurred.

Compliance challenges

With the IRRs and the DPA’s principal implementing agency not even a year old, the regulated and
the regulator face more than a few challenges. With no real precedents to provide guidance, and
circulars still being issued to manage gaps in the DPA and the IRRs, many controllers and processors
are struggling to understand how to comply with the new regime.

For instance, persons with less than 250 employees and who do not process the sensitive personal
information of 1,000 individuals will need to figure out what is meant by ‘processing that is likely to
pose a risk to rights and freedoms of data subjects’ and ‘processing that is not occasional.’ This will
surely create many grey areas.

Meanwhile, non-resident entities with Philippine dealings may be surprised to find out that they are
covered by the DPA and its requirements. The DPA provides that it applies to processing even
outside the Philippines if the processor has a ‘link’ to the country, such as the processing of personal
data of Philippine citizens or residents.

But beyond the challenges of practical comprehension and compliance is that of creating a ‘privacy
mindset.’ At present, discussions even with top executives and senior ofcers of local companies
about the DPA can include dealing with denial/amazement at what the statute requires, and even
doubts about whether the DPA is actually already in force (the NPC confirms that it is).

Even the Philippine Commission on Elections (‘COMELEC’), a body created by the Constitution to
manage elections and voter registration, expressed dismay that the NPC was focusing its regulatory
ire on the COMELEC in relation to a 2016 leak of personal data of millions of registered voters. Its
Chairman, who may face criminal liability under the DPA, has argued that the focus should be on the
hackers and not the victim of the hacking.

A Filipino word for privacy

Some of the larger corporates, and those afliated with global companies that operate in jurisdictions
with mature privacy regimes, should have less problems with DPA compliance. The NPC in the
meantime has sought to assure businesses and organisations that its priority at this time will be to
educate, guide and encourage compliance; in one forum, a Commissioner said that the NPC’s focus
is not to “jail people.” But companies that are anxious about the NPC’s monitoring function and
punitive powers may need to be more concerned about a possible rise in privacy violation
complaints. With the NPC having issued rules of procedure for such claims and a growing awareness
of privacy rights under the DPA and the IRRs, it may only be a matter of time before Philippine data
subjects take those rules of procedure out for a spin. Early this year, at least two bills were filed
seeking to regulate social media. With these developments, it is not clear if, for instance, courts will
continue to put the onus of privacy protection on the data subject as seems to have been the case in
recent Supreme Court decisions. While, as noted by the NPC’s website, there is no Filipino word for
privacy, this could very well change as the Philippines’ new privacy regime begins to mature.
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