Nat’l ID bill advances with amendments, OKd on second reading » Manila Bulletin News

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By Ben Rosario

The bill establishing the Philippine Identification System (FilSys) advanced in the House of Representatives after its unanimous approval on second reading on Wednesday.

House of Representatives
(Michael Varcas / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

House Bill 6221, an Act Establishing the Filipino Identification System, or FilSys, is a consolidation of 18 separate legislative proposals. It is expected to be presented for third and final reading next week, with its authors, among them former president and Pampanga Rep.Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, confident of approval.

The bill mandates the registration of all Filipinos 18 years old and above to the FilSys and the issuance to them of non-transferrable Filipino ID card with the corresponding permanent Common Reference Number.

Aside from Arroyo, other authors of the bill are Reps. Sol Aragones (NPC, Laguna); Arnolfo Teves (PDP-Laban, Negros Oriental); Ruffino Rozzano Biazon (PDP-Laban, Muntinlupa City); Robert Ace Barbers (PDP-Laban, Surigao del Norte); Alfredo Garbin (Ako Bicol Party list); Edgar Erice (LP, Caloocan City); Feliciano Belmonte Jr. (LP, Quezon City); and Gary Alejano (Magdalo Party list).

Aragones, chairperson of the House Committee on Population and Family Relations, and Teves defended the bill from interpellators who debated against its approval for nearly four hours on Wednesday.

Makabayan bloc Reps. Carlos Isagani Zarate (Bayan Muna); Antonio Tinio and France Castro (ACT Teachers Party list); Sarah Jane Elago (Kabataan Party list) Arlene Brosas (Gabriela) and Ariel CAsilao (Anakpawis) took turns in warning that the national ID can be used as a tool for repression and curtailment of basic rights of Filipinos.

Arroyo watched the plenary debates right from the very start and later thanked the bill’s defense panel as they allayed concerns on invasion of privacy that could be caused by the ID system.

“We cannot allow the risks that accompany new technologies to deter us from adopting them. Neither should we allow fears of government abuse to dissuade us from adopting measures that, if properly implemented, can benefit 100 million Filipinos and Filipinos yet unborn,” said Aragones when she sponsored the bill for plenary debates.

Aragones pointed out that the bill provides for numerous advantages that include: (1) simplified processes in public services, (2) reduction of redundancy and delay in government services and transactions, (3) elimination of multiple government identification system, (4) reduction in administrative costs and expenses, (5) promotion of greater convenience to the public, (6) facilitation of private business, (7) identification of fraudulent transactions and misrepresentations, and (8) prevention of the use of false or stolen identities.

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