Philippine National ID System: What About It?

The Philippine government under Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo relives the issue regarding the national identification system which was first proposed during the administration of former Pres. Fidel V. Ramos. During the former president’s time, the proposal was trashed by the Philippine Congress and Senate due to unconstitutionality. This time again, the present government pushes to implement the same via an Executive Order, bypassing Congress and Senate.

For a common citizen like myself, I can only disagree to this move of the government. A national ID system cannot and will not curb terrorism, poverty and corruption – things that have been plaguing the society for centuries now. The argument of government officials of course is pointed towards national development through curbing acts of terrorism. They say someone can no longer buy products from pharmacies, chemical plants and industrial establishment the equipment and ingredients needed to produce a bomb or anything illegal since an ID is needed before you can even purchase an item from a store or seller.

However, if we dig deeper into the realities of this act, is the government making false assumptions that every citizen is a terrorist, planning a coup against the government? The simple fact that smuggling of materials needed to produce bombs, distribution of drugs and increasing crime rates cannot be combated, why should an individual living a simple life, earning a living in a good and legal way suffer the consequences of showing an ID card containing vital information about his person? With the advent of modern technology available today, even showing to anyone you don’t know your Social Security number may get you in a lot of trouble. Your home address shown on a card can also be the start of your misery (well, thanks to kidnapping, theft and other heinous crimes).

As regards my personal take on this, I think the government’s paranoia on the growing number of detractors, unsatisfied citizens and imminent uprisings, triggered pretty obvious selfish motives. For human rights advocates, they simply call this invasion of privacy. While it’s true, this is an invasion of privacy, a deeper meaning can be associated with this move – the present government wants to retain power at will, creating a martial-law-like society where the police, military and other agencies of the government must and should know everything about its citizens – where they live, what’s their phone numbers, etcetera. In developed countries where governments have the means, actual need and political will to implement a law like this, it’s just alright. There appears to be no problem. However, for a country like the Philippines, I think the government is not in any way prepared to implement such. The level of maturity of government officials is low. In practice, law enforcement is inept because in most cases, the laws only apply to small fishes. Bigwigs will and can always find a way to evade the instigation of laws.

The masses are likewise unprepared for this since the provisions of the proposed law are still unclear and doubtful. Who should have a National ID? What are the details of the person that should be contained in the ID? Are there certain prerequisites? These things are not even considered well and laid down up to this time.

The penalties for disobedience are not also comprehensible. Should “violators” be put to jail? Should a fine of certain amount be collected from them? Should they render community service? Up to now, we can only speculate.

Overall, this law should be studied further prior to passing in Congress and Senate. A public debate should be initiated. A plebiscite might also be a good process to get the pulse of the citizens. A nationwide survey should be done within a considerable amount of time. Creating a law of this magnitude takes a lot of considerations. Educating the public about this law should be the first step to be taken. How can citizens understand and appreciate something that will affect their lives without gaining adequate education and good insight about it? From my understanding of law-making, this should not be enacted yet. Not just yet. Just because Congress and Senate have the power to do pass it doesn’t really mean they should. And that’s just from the point of view of an inquiring mind.

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13 Comments on “Philippine National ID System: What About It?”

  1. In one way or another, I do want this Ph ID System to be implemented, but skeptical as to how to go about it, knowing the population of the Philippines, it would take forever. The positive side of it is accuracy and convenience of just having one national ID in all transactions. Instead of having so many ID’s like SSS, GSIS, Pag-ibig, etc. why not have one ID only. An ID doesn’t necessarily contain the address or other vital info, ID#,name and signature are enough info, (the rest are stored and accessed by tax authority only) just like my ID here, hehe! On the other hand, I don’t really know how the government will take advantage of the ID. Is it to replace the existing govn’t ID’s or just to control terrorism…

    Marlene’s last blog post..ICE Campaign

  2. Hi Jess, kaya nagkaganyan message ko dahil makailang ulit ko na-submit, di kasi clear yung 0 (zero) or O, misstake ako palagi…haha!

    Marlene’s last blog post..ICE Campaign

  3. Hindi rin ako agree, panibagong pagkakagastusan na naman ito and marlene is right, it would take forever. YUn nga lang voter’s id inabot muna ng 2 years bago ko nakuha.

    liza’s last blog post..7 random/weird things about me

  4. congratuations on your PR 4! you deserve it!

    Vienna’s last blog post..First 2008 PageRank Update Have Started

  5. @ Marlene,

    the population is one issue friend. another is the political will and the real objectives of the proposed law. many of us think that monitoring every Filipino’s activity through the National ID system is simply a means to pry on our private lives. Like they say, “don’t put your eggs in one basket”. If something happens to the basket, all the eggs contained therein could be broken. :-)

  6. @ Liza,

    naku fren, masanay ka na sa istilong pinoy. sa US aabutin lang ng 10 minutes or less ang pagkuha ng card pero dito sa tin syam-syam. kaya usad pagong din ang ekonomiya natin eh.

  7. @ Vienna,

    thank you nang marami, kapatid. ikaw din congrats sa blogs mo. they’re doing great also.

  8. For me … they CANT even give the VOTERS ID … due long time ago … WHERE HAS THE ID GONE?

    So how could they manage to create one? … I wonder … How much would it cost …

    Junelle’s last blog post..Diniwid Scam

  9. @ Junelle,

    that is correct my friend. up to now, the amount to be paid to get the proposed ID is unspecified.

  10. Gimik ng pagkakagastusan nanaman yan ng gobyerno nating magaling. I really am so pissed already. This is a non-essential if GMA will really look at it. There are other things to be prioritized. The intent could be beneficial. But come on now, that\\\’s not what our country currently needs. Kalokohan tlaga ni GMA oo.

    Jennie’s last blog post..Post Christmas Thoughts

  11. @ Jennie,

    sinabi mo pa, fren. ako man eh malayo ang loob ko sa pamahalaan nating kasalukuyan.

  12. i wish mangyari to.

    d2 sa new residence namin, di kami pwedeng lumabas n di dala ang ID namin d2. i mean, national id ng bansa nila. even the locals here, they have to bring their IDs when going out…

    magiging matagal lang ang processing ng ID sa pinas kung sasabayan ng kurakot…oopps, i’m getting skeptical again about how our system works there. but i’m still hopeful that our system will get better.

    hi fren! got carried away kaya huli na ako nakapag-hi:)

  13. IDs are a tool of the government to find you wherever you you live.
    Plane and simple. they want total control over any one and everyone.
    and as anyone knows absolute power corrupts absolutely.
    I think all forms of government in the world today are corrupt and inept I would like to see all people rise up against government rule and overthrow the oppression.
    I don’t know if the point of a gun is all that can do it.
    but it may be so. sorry to say.
    Todd