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Solons press gov’t printing of national ID

By Ben R. Rosario

Opposition and administration congressmen yesterday warned government against compromising the privacy of Filipinos by tapping the private sector in the printing of the national identification cards.

Lawmakers said the government should be reminded of the adverse results of multi-billion peso contracts it had farmed out to private firms, noting that the controversial automated election and passport printing contracts as examples.

Reps. Winston Castelo (PDP-Laban, Quezon City); Antonio Tinio (ACT Teachers party-list), and Gary Alejano (Magdalo party-list) said the Philippine Statistics Authority, the State agency tasked to implement the Philippine ID system, must limit the printing job to government printing offices.

Taking the strict requirements for security and confidentiality of information in implementing the ID system, Castelo said PSA may explore the possibility of tapping the printing facility of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.

“We may tap the Bangko Sentral printing facility to print the IDs with security features similar to those used in printing currency,” said Castelo, a member of the House Committee on Public Order and Safety.

Citing the controversies that hounded the implementation by Venezuelan firm Smartmatic of several automated elections, Tinio called on government to avoid committing the ID system to foreign firms.

It was also noted that the printing of new passports by the United Graphic Expression Corp., another private firm, has been the object of much criticism centering on the delayed delivery of passports and suspicions of irregularities in the deal.

“Security and privacy, together with sovereign control of citizen’s private information, are serious concerns, not only with respect to the printing of the national ID cards but also the massive centralized data base at the heart of the national ID system which will likely be outsourced by government to the private sector,” said Tinio.

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