Albay solon wants to raise National ID System from the grave

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Albay Rep. Al Francis Bichara. Photo courtesy of  congress.gov.ph
Albay Rep. Al Francis Bichara. Photo courtesy of congress.gov.ph

LEGAZPI CITY 3July2013 – The controversial National Identification System bill’s resurrection from the archives of the House of Representatives is expected to spark national debates once tossed to the committee on public information.

Albay Rep. Al Francis Bichara tried his luck by refilling the Filipino Identification Card under House Bill 11 saying that he had introduced additional provisions to arrest fears that the ID system will be used to invade on one’s privacy and commit violations of people’s constitutional rights.

Bichara said the measure aims to institutionalize national information card that would “facilitate and streamline government transactions, cut red tape and increase productivity.”

HB 11 provides that all Filipino citizens residing in the Philippines will secure their personal ID card at the Office of the Local Civil Registrar.

Filipinos abroad will be issued the card by the Philippine Embassy or consular office where they are residing.

The ID card shall be given out free in the first issuance. Fees will be imposed for succeeding issuances.

The veteran lawmaker explained that under a national ID system, the ID card can be used in both public and private transaction as an efficient tool in upgrading the speed and quality of public service in the country.

“It has a tamper proof security material that will protect the identity of card holders from unwarranted and unauthorized access,” he said in hs explanatory note.

Admitting that his bill is expected to be met by barrage of criticisms from the opposing party especially from human rights groups, Bichara said he has cured the loopholes of contention.

“To assuage this fear, this measure will ensure that any information under the system will not be made available to third parties or entities but only under certain exceptional circumstances,” Bichara pointed out.

The bill provides that all information given in the national ID system will be considered “privilege” and cannot be used as evidence against the holder in any criminal proceedings.

According to the Bicolano lawmaker, the information card shall serve more as a protection for its holder than as an ordinary identification card.

“The use of this card will protect, secure and/or save the holder from red tape in the government bureaucracy, unnecessary harassments, wastage of time and from death or permanent injuries in case of accidents and/or disasters,” he further explained.

A fine ranging from P5,000 to P500,000 or a two-year imprisonment or both will be imposed on anybody found guilty of giving false information in applying for a national ID. (SAMMY F. MARTIN/PNA)

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