National ID law: Here's the law, plus quick summary

MANILA, Philippines – Two days after President Rodrigo Duterte signed it, Republic Act No 11055 or the Philippine Identification System Act has been released to the public.

A complete copy of the new law can be found at the end of this article.

Here's a quick summary of its salient points:

What is the Philippine Identification System or PhilSys? It's a system that centralizes all personal information of Filipino citizens and resident aliens and generates a Philippine ID (PhilID) and PhilSys Number (PSN) that will be used to authenticate their identity in all government and private sector transactions. This includes applications for drivers' license, passport, tax-related transactions, voters' registration, application to schools, and bank transactions.

How does that affect lives of Filipinos, resident aliens? This means there will be no need to provide government offices or private establishments with multiple IDs (license, passport, TIN ID, etc) just to prove your identity. Providing your PhilID or PSN will be deemed as sufficient proof of identity, subject to verification.

How do I enter the system? One year from the effectivity of this law, citizens and resident aliens can register in person with any of the offices below. Registration is not mandatory. To speed up processing, you can provide a birth certificate (for citizens) or proof of residence (for resident aliens). 

What if I live abroad? Register with the Philippine embassy in your area or any registeration center designated by the Department of Foreign Affairs.

What type of information will I be asked to provide?

Will my personal information, data be secure? The law imposes penalties of fines or imprisonment for any person who illegally discloses any PhilSys information or uses it for unauthorized purposes. Personal data may only be disclosed to enforcement or security agencies in the interest of public safety and only upon court order. In such a case, the owner of the information must be notified within 72 hours of the disclosure.

Who's in charge? The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) is the government agency tasked with implementing the law with the technical assistance of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT). A council composed of officials from the National Economic and Development Authority, budget department, finance department, foreign affairs department, and more will create the policies.

Something to note: It's important to point out that the PhilSys will also record every instance you use your PhilID or PSN in a transaction, aside from any modification of personal information. Privacy experts have said this could lead to "dataveillance" or a comprehensive surveillance system that tracks a person's activities over an extended period.

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– Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.

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