Panelo wants to ‘clear up’ alleged passport data breach

MANILA Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo on Monday said that he will write the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO), and a sub-contractor involved in the reported passport data loss caused by a previous contractor of the DFA to find out whether passport holders' data is really missing or not.

Panelo made this remark due to the conflicting claims made by Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. and his predecessor, Perfecto Yasay, after the DFA declaration that it lost passport data to its old contractor.

While Locsin claimed that foreign contractor, French firm Francois-Charles Oberthur Fiduciare, took the personal data of passport holders, Yasay argued that Locsin's statement is false and that the DFA chief wanted to deflect the real issue on the passport mess.

Di pa nga natin alam kung totoong nawala (We don't even know if data is really missing or not). I need to know exactly, nawala ba o hindi(is it missing or not)? I'm waiting for the DFA to tell us, Panelo said in a Palace briefing.

We're writing the DFA regarding that matter. We're also writing PCOO relative to the same. We're writing also UGEC (United Graphic Expression Corporation), he added.

Panelo said he wanted the DFA, PCOO, and UGEC to clarify the real score on breach in passport data.

I will just ask for a status, ano ba talaga (what really happened)? What's the score? Nawala ba o hindi? At sino (Did they go missing? And who's fault was it)? I need to know the facts, Panelo told reporters in an interview after the briefing.

Before the contract for the production of Philippine electronic passports was awarded to the APO Production Unit (APO) Inc., the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, through French firm Francois-Charles Oberthur Fiduciare, had been printing passport booklets.

Yasay claimed APO, a government owned and controlled corporation that operates under PCOO's wing, sub-contracted UGEC for the production of the new e-passports "without bidding which is in violation of the law.

Formal communication

Panelo refused to further comment on the issue noting that his office has yet to receive complete documents or formal communication explaining the passport data mess.

Kulang yung mga dokumento kaya hindi ako makagawa ng (We lack the documents so I cannot make a) conclusive opinion on the matter. So, we've been asking them to give us all the documents relative to that matter pero kulang e (but they're lacking), Panelo said.

I need the facts bago kami gumawa ng komentaryo (before I make comments). I want formal communication coming from them and giving me the facts, he added.

Panelo said it was best to await results of the investigation being conducted by the DFA and the National Privacy Commission (NPC) to clarify the issues at hand.

According to Panelo, President Rodrigo R. Duterte himself was concerned about the passport data going missing.

The President of course doesn't want these birth certificates being lost, even without him saying it, di dapat mangyari yun (it should not have happened), Panelo said.

He assured the passport holders that government is addressing the problem and will not allow any other delays in the issuance or renewal of passports.

We will not allow any delay in the issuance of passports or putting stringent requirements that will burden our people into getting their passports, Panelo said.

Panelo said the DFA should also make it a point to learn from whatever lessons they have with respect to a breach in data security. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency

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