Progressive lawmakers from the House of Representatives on Wednesday slammed the approval of the measure establishing an identification system that provides official national ID for all Filipinos on the bicameral level.
In a statement, ACT Teachers party-list Representative Antonio Tinio pointed out that the measure empowers the government to collect personal information of "exceptional scope and interest" from every Filipino.
"The information includes, not just the basic personal data, but also 'sensitive personal information,' including biometrics and other identifiable features of an individual that would be included later in the crafting of an implementing rules and regulations," he said.
Fellow ACT Teachers party-list Representative France Castro said the bill is a threat to the Filipinos' right to privacy and gives the government a powerful tool for surveillance, control and repression.
"With President [Rodrigo] Duterte's emerging dictatorial rule, the deteriorating human rights situation, the increasing number of extrajudicial killings, martial law in Mindanao, a total war in the countryside, and the Duterte regime's tyrannical rule, the bill may be used against those who criticize and oppose his policies," she said.
Tinio added that the measure will become a tool to deprive others who do not have it of basic social services, and discriminate against them.
"The bill will subject those who do not have an ID to a rigid identification and verification procedure that may hinder the person from getting the social services provided by the government," he said.
"With the tedious process and requirements needed to avail of this ID, there would be people who would not be able to process and afford the Philippine ID like the indigenous people and those in far flung areas," he added.
"We strongly oppose the passage of this legislative measure into law and we urge the public to do the same," Tinio said.
For her part, Kabataan party-list Representative Sarah Elago said the government should instead provide more funds for quality social services than for a national ID.
"The people's demand is better access to quality social services. What good is an ID, if there are not enough public hospitals, schools and facilities to cater our people who need these services the most," she said.
"Our public services have been deliberately made dysfunctional to justify privatization which makes these inaccessible and unaffordable to many poor and struggling middle class families," she added.
Following the approval on the bicameral level, the bill is now set to be signed by Duterte into law. —KBK, GMA News