Press Release
April 21, 2006


A properly implemented national ID system will provide the much-needed boost to government efforts in simplifying transactions with citizens and stopping crime and terrorism, Sen. Panfilo Lacson said Friday.

Lacson, who has advocated the ID system since he headed the Philippine National Police (PNP), said such a program, with the proper safeguards in place, should greatly improve efficiency in the bureaucracy.

"This is one effort that deserves our full support. I have been advocating such a program even when I headed the PNP, and I filed a bill for such a national ID system as early as 2004," he noted.

Besides, he noted that many countries, including those with democratic form of government such as Brazil, German and Italy, have a national reference system.

In 2004, Lacson filed Senate Bill 833, the National Reference Card System Act of 2004, which aims to provide one single code to each citizen at birth and a reference card carrying their number and other vital information when they start participating actively in society.

With such a program, he said "we not only help a person integrate himself into our society, but we also simplify any transaction that the person may have with the various agencies of government as well as with private entities."

"Experience tells us of the constant delays and inconveniences the public has to suffer in availing of basic public services and social security benefits because of inefficient and not-too-reliable means of identification of the beneficiaries," he said in his bill.

Also, he noted that quantum leaps in criminality and the continuing challenge of terrorism have rendered the need for a national identification system urgent. He said an ID system should help facilitate the apprehension and prosecution of those who violate the law.

Under Senate Bill 833, all citizens are assigned a reference number upon birth and issued a National Reference Card free of charge at age 18, in a manner prescribed by the National Coordinating Commission.

The card, which shall contain security features, contains the bearer's name, address, blood type and next-of-kin. The proposed measure limits the number of persons who have access to the data on the card, which will be the only official identification of the bearer in dealing with government agencies and applying for driver's license, passport, marriage license, death certificate, and business permits.

"Failure to present the card shall not be a ground to deny him or her of basic services, but he/she will be subjected to the usual rigid identification and verification procedure," Lacson said. On the other hand, penalties of up to six years await those who submit fake data, while a penalty of up to six months awaits those who refuse to accept, acknowledge or recognize the card. A penalty of P50,000 awaits those involved in the unauthorized disclosure of data.

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