Manila, Philippines — Voting 17-2, the Senate on Monday approved on third and final reading the bill creating a national identification system.
Only Sen. Risa Hontiveros and Sen. Francis Pangilinan voted against Senate Bill 1738 or the Philippine Identification System Act of 2018.
The measure aims to harmonize and integrate the “countless and redundant” government IDs with a national ID system.
The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Panfilo Lacson, said the system will allow the public—citizens and foreign residents—to easily transact with government and private institutions and deter criminality.
The national ID will contain the PhilSys number or the randomly generated identification number for each individual, full name, facial image, birthdate, address and fingerprints of the bearer.
Voting 142-7, the House of Representatives approved its version of the bill in September last year.
Once ratified by both chambers, the bill will be transmitted to President Rodrigo Duterte for it to become a law.
Budget chief Benjamin Diokno said that once enacted into law, application for the ID system will be free of charge.
About P2 billion has been earmarked for the implementation of the national ID system under the budget of the Philippine Statistics Authority.
But for rights group Karapatan, the national ID system is one of the latest “repressive measures” of the administration.
“Disguised as an ‘economic and social tool,’ it becomes a mechanism for control and repression in the hands of the military. Aligned with the government’s counterinsurgency campaign, this bill will be used to monitor and harass citizens,” Palabay said.
National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr., a retired general, said that the administration is planning to roll out the national identification system this year even without an enabling law.