Friday, April 22, 2005

National ID dry run set

Malacañang to try system first on state employees

By Ma. Theresa Torres, Reporter

THE controversial national ID will be issued first to government workers, according to guidelines drawn up by Malacañang.

On Wednesday the Palace released Executive Order 420 listing the guidelines for enforcing the ID system in all government agencies.

The E.O., signed April 13, stressed the need to streamline and integrate the processes and issuance of ID cards in the government to reduce costs and improve business transactions with the government.

The E.O., however, does not say how the ID would be used in the campaign against terrorism. Interest in the national ID system was revived after the series of deadly terrorist attacks in February. The Arroyo administration stressed then that a single ID for the population would make it harder for terrorists to move around.

The E.O. says the ID shall contain the holder’s name, home address, sex, picture, signature, date and place of birth, marital status, names of parents, height, weight, two index fingers and two thumbprints, prominent distinguishing features, tax identification number (TIN) and any number issued by other agencies.

Each ID shall also be given a reference number.

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) has been tasked to integrate all government ID systems into one single ID.

The E.O. also sets safeguards to prevent any infringement on the rights of the public. Among the safeguards:

The data to be recorded and stored shall be used only for establishing the identity of the person.

In no case shall the collection of other data be in violation of a person’s right to privacy.

Stringent systems of access control to the ID database shall be set up.

Data collected and stored shall be kept and treated as strictly confidential and the personal or written authorization of the owner shall be required to access the data.

The ID card shall be protected by advanced security features and cryptographic technology.

A written request by the owner of the ID card shall be required for any correction of data.

Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita will ask NEDA and the Department of Budget and Management to help draft the implementing regulations for the system.

After the implementing regulations, the government expects to roll out the system in two months.

Employees in state agencies and government-owned and -controlled corporations will get the first crack at the national ID, Ermita said, and the private sector will follow soon.

He said the government is confident that E.O. 420 will not suffer the same fate as Administrative Order 108 calling for a national ID issued by then-President Fidel V. Ramos.

Senators, however, would rather have the national ID system pass

through legislation than through an executive order.

The Senate minority leader, Aquilino Pimentel Jr., said that “only a law can compel a national ID system.”

Sen. Rodolfo Biazon prefers the national ID system to be legislated to provide safeguards, “especially if the safeguards would carry a provision of penalty for any violation of the system.”

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