Senator Franklin Drilon. 

MANILA -- Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon assured on Wednesday that the Philippines Identification System Act (PhilSys Act) has enough safeguards to protect the privacy of Filipinos, even as he stressed that the law's main objective is to enhance the delivery of basic services to the public.

"The law has enough safeguards to protect the sanctity of the individual's information and protect their right to privacy. It protects against unlawful disclosure of information and punishes those who will subvert the system for unlawful ends," Drilon said.

Drilon, the principal author of the PhilSys Act, issued the statement to allay several sectors' concerns following Malacañang’s announcement that the government will pilot test the national ID system from September to December this year.

He noted that the law not only ensures the privacy of the individual but also ensures the efficient delivery of services and ease transactions with government agencies.

“With a national ID system in place, it would be easier for individuals seeking basic services from the government to identify themselves and for agencies, both public and private, to verify the information,” Drilon pointed out.

The senator said in crafting the PhilSys Act, lawmakers have provided a balance between enhancing the system of legal identification for better service delivery and protecting the right to privacy.

He said the data that will be included in the national ID system would not be different from the information that is present in all government-issued IDs.

“The type of information collected and the purposes for which they may be used is limited," he said.

He added that the law would not affect data privacy as the pertinent provisions of the Data Privacy Act will still apply.

Under the national ID system, a common reference number (CRN) will be given to all Filipinos containing essential information such as full name, address, date, and place of birth, sex, civil status, signature, CRN and date of card issuance, along with a recent photo.

Filipinos living and working abroad can register at the embassy or consular offices in their countries of the location to get their assigned CRN.

Drilon said the CRN/ID can be used by a citizen in its transactions with all branches of the government, making it more convenient for Filipinos to avail of government services.

He said the national ID will also be honored when transacting with certain private institutions, like banks.

"Today, you open a wallet and you will find a driver's license, a voter's ID, an SSS/GSIS ID, PhilHealth ID, Tax Identification Number card, among others. Once the National ID is distributed to every single Filipino here and abroad, transactions will be made easier and faster," Drilon said. (PNA)