Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon on Thursday urged Congress to prioritize the swift passage of the bill that will provide for establishment of a national ID system.
"I call on the leadership of the Senate and the House of Representatives to speed up work on the proposed national ID system," Drilon said.
Both the Senate and the House of Representatives leadership have identified SBN 15 as a priority measure of the 17th Congress, Drilon added.
"Such a law is necessary for efficient and fast delivery of public services in the country," he emphasized.
Drilon is the author of Senate Bill No. 15 titled "An Act Establishing the Philippine Identification System," with the goal of ensuring efficient delivery of social services and facilitating transactions requiring information on a person's identity.
Drilon said the Senate Minority Bloc will support it.
The bill is pending with the Committee on Justice and Human Rights chaired by Senator Richard Gordon.
Drilon's call came in light of news reports that certain provinces in Central Luzon came up with proposals to issue IDs to Muslims in their area of operations.
MalacaAang rejected the proposal, and called for the adoption of a national ID system. "The Palace's position is that there should be a national ID," presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella was quoted as saying.
The minority leader explained that the bill is meant to make swift and accurate the identification of individuals seeking basic services from the government.
Aside from it, a national Filipino ID system can help prevent fraudulent transactions, he added.
"The bill aims to consolidate all existing government-initiated identification systems into an integrated and efficient identification system for citizens of the Philippines in order to help improve and speed up the delivery of public services in the country," Drilon said.
If enacted into law, a Common Reference Number (CRN) will be given to all Filipinos containing essential information such as full name, address, date and place of birth, sex, civil status, signature, CRN and date of card issuance, along with a recent photo.
A provision in the bill specifically provides that any registered individual would only need to present a Filipino ID Card for identification purposes in all government transactions, especially those requiring the disclosure of identity, status, birth and other personal details.
The ID will also be honored when transacting with certain private institutions, like banks, Drilon noted.
Filipinos living and working abroad can register at embassy or consular offices in their countries of location to get their assigned CRN.
The application for the ID system shall be free of charge, as part of the government's social responsibility, he added.
Drilon concluded that the bill contains ample safeguards against unlawful disclosure of information, as no person or entity - including state enforcement agencies may publish or spread anyone's data in the ID system, except when the owner expressly consents, or in case of an accident, "or in the interest of public health or safety.
Source: Senate of the Philippines