National ID System,
A Peril to Human Rights
"So terrifying are the possibilities
of a law such as Administrative Order No.308 in making inroads into
the private lives of the citizens, a virtual Big Brother looking
over our shoulders, that it must, without delay, be 'slain upon
sight' before our society turns totalitarian with each of us, a
Justice Reynaldo Puno
(Ople vs. Torres, G.R. No. 127685)
July 23, 1998
The proposal to revive the National ID System by the Armed Forces
of the Philippines (AFP) refreshes the 'chill' that we all feel
in the midst of serious violations of human rights, extrajudicial
killings and enforced disappearances. The fascist government of
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (GMA) is employing another tool to violate
the basic rights of the people in the guise of counter-insurgency
The revival of the National ID System is part of
the National Security Plan of GMA, which will reinforce the much-criticized
Human Security Act. From identifying the 'acts of terrorism' through
an overbroad and vague definition, here comes the plan to identify
'who the terrorists are' through the National ID System. Those who
will be deemed 'terrorists and enemies of the state', will now be
subjected to a legal system of surveillance. Such system will lead
to a fishing expedition authorizing warrantless arrests and searches.
With the dreadful record of the GMA regime on human rights, it is
entirely possible that this ID system will be abused by the AFP
to silence critiques of the present administration.
This intensified surveillance is aimed at completing
the AFP's database or making a dossier of every citizen in every
transaction that will be made. Any transaction (banking, traveling,
purchasing, communicating, insurance payments, hospitalization etc.)
will be added to the database. A virtual big brother because the
government can spy on all activities of its citizens - be it personal,
business and political. This would lead to the wanton violations
of our right to privacy, mobility, communication and self-incrimination.
As to the need to have a National ID System in providing
social services, we say that it is discriminatory for any government
to limit access to basic social services to ID holders. Making the
absence of an ID a limiting factor in the access of services is
an outright abandonment of the economic rights of every citizen.
Every person should be treated equally in the delivery of social
services with or without an ID. It is not also believable that the
absence of the ID system makes the delivery of services inefficient.
Inefficiency must be viewed in the lack of prioritization of the
government for social services coupled with the problem of graft
In curbing real terrorists, let us remind the AFP,
that the perpetrators of 9/11 have their legal identifications.
Even with the high-technology ID System in the United States they
were able to proceed with their terrorist activities. There is also
no safeguard as to the control and access to the information on
the ID System and no clear penalty for data fraud, hacking and theft
making it easy for terrorist groups to falsify data in their ID's.
Thus, the ID system will not prevent terrorism.
In defeating the long-running insurgency, it is
always being said that the root of the insurgency must first be
addressed. A National ID System cannot end the armed uprising in
the country. Rather, the government should seriously provide solutions
to poverty, agricultural neglect, graft and corruption, imperialism,
foreign intervention and feudal bondage which are the major issues
being fought in the countryside. Fascism will not dissolve the armed
uprising it can even encourage people to take-up arms in defense
of their much violated rights.
We therefore believe that a revival of a National
ID System will further erode the human rights situation in the country.
It will subject every citizen to government scrutiny, making anybody
a subject of human rights violations be it economic or political.
We call on all human rights advocates and the general
public to oppose this fascist ploy in a collective defense of our
human rights. Let us be reminded of the Supreme Court's decision
on this matter in 1998 which ended the proposal for a National ID
System of Fidel Ramos that the AFP now wants to revive. Let us remember
the local struggle we had on this issue in 2002 when we successfully
stopped the passage of an ordinance for a localized ID system in
Let us not forget the living fact that genuine democracy
and freedom will not thrive without due recognition of our basic
human rights - the right to life, liberty and security - the same
rights being violated by the National ID System#
TONGTONGAN TI UMILI-CORDILLERA
PEOPLES ALLIANCE; INNABUYOG-GABRIELA MB; GABRIELA-YOUTH; MIGRANTE
MB; CORDILLERA ECUMENICAL MOVEMENT FOR ACTION AND TRANSFORMATION;
KILUSANG MAYO UNO; ORGANISASYON DAGITI NAKURAPAY NGA UMILI TI SYUDAD;
LEAGUE OF FILIPINO STUDENTS; PROGRESSIVE IGOROTS FOR SOCIAL ACTION;
ANAKBAYAN MB; DAP-AYAN TI KULTURA ITI KORDILYERA; CORDILLERA AFONG;
ALLIANCE OF CONCERNED TEACHERS MB; CORDILLERA HUMAN RIGHTS ALLIANCE