Nat’l ID system, a wolf in sheep’s clothing

“Time and again, we have reiterated that this law, the national identification system, is a wolf in sheep’s clothing,” said Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay on the ratification of the national ID system, adding that this will lead to wholesale rights violations, primarily of the people’s rights to freedom of movement and privacy, right against surveillance, and right to unhampered and non-discriminatory provision of social services.

“The national ID system will be an underhanded maneuver to screen and monitor people. This law will be very much prone to abuse, considering that our bureaucracy is already littered with militarists and ex-generals who have proven their contempt for people’s rights. With billions already funneled to intelligence funds, this law will further fast-track government monitoring and even harassment of its citizens,” Palabay added.

On August 6, 2018, President Duterte signed into law the Philippine Identification Act which establishes a national ID system. Under this new law, the basic information of all registered Filipino citizens will be collated in a centralized database. The national ID card will contain personal information such as an individual’s photo and fingerprints.

The Karapatan secretary emphasized how dangerous that such information are in the government’s possession, especially on top of already repressive campaigns such as the counterinsurgency program Oplan Kapayapaan and the drug war. “As it is, surveillance and harassment is already at an unprecedented rate. Under the Duterte government’s counterinsurgency program, this law is an open temptation for the power-hungry and bloodthirsty officials to intensify their pursuit and political persecution of political dissenters and government critics,” she said, noting that under the Duterte regime, 67, 372 individuals were already subjected to various forms of threat, harassment, and intimidation.

Palabay reiterated that there is an alarming trend in the Duterte regime’s discreet but systematic passage of repressive laws. “From the proposed amendments to the Anti-Teror Law, the granting of subpoena powers to the police, the declaration of martial law in Mindanao, and now the ratification of the National ID system, all these point to the regime’s obsession in laying the foundation for military rule,” she said.

“The regime sells this law as a cure for efficiency, conveniently leaving out that inefficiency in government transactions is deeply rooted in a corrupt system. Corruption remains unsolved as the most shameless plunderers have crept back into power, with the permission and helping hand of the Duterte regime. This is a draconian measure that does not address problems within the bureaucracy, but would rather aggravate the repression already experienced by communities and individuals. With a militarized bureaucracy, a resurrected ex-President who killed thousands, a rehabilitated and plundering family who is creeping back in, and a regime with wanton disregard for human rights, clearly this law will be another repressive tool in their hands,” Palabay concluded.

Reference: Cristina Palabay, Secretary General, 0917-3162831

Karapatan Public Information Desk, 0918-9790580