By Rodolfo Andal
PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte signed into law the Philippine Identification System Act, which aims to make public service delivery more efficient.
“Today, I also signed the Philippine Identification System Act, a measure that will establish a single national identification system that will promote good governance, enhance governmental transactions, and create a more conducive environment for trade and commerce to thrive,” President Duterte said during a ceremony in Malacañang Palace.
The signing coincided with the presentation of the President of the newly signed Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) to the leadership of the various Moro front groups and key Mindanao stakeholders.
The Chief Executive asked for public support for the new measure, saying the ID system will promote the efficient delivery of services through a single ID that will be issued to all citizens and resident aliens.
The ID, called the “Phil-ID,” will dispense with the need to present multiple IDs for different government transactions.
“This will not only enhance administrative governance, reduce corruption, curtail bureaucratic red tape, and promote the ease of doing business, but also avert fraudulent transactions, strengthen financial inclusion, and create a more secure environment for our people,” he added.
Duterte allayed public fears regarding privacy and security, noting that the information included in the Phil-ID will be similar to the information already in the possession of the Philippine Statistics Authority, Government Service Insurance System, PhilHealth, Pag-IBIG Fund, and the Commission on Elections. He added that the Philippine Statistics Authority will work closely with the National Privacy Commission, the Department of Information and Communications Technology, and the multi-agency PhilSystem Policy and Coordination Council to address all concerns pertaining to privacy and security.
“There is therefore no basis at all for the apprehensions about the Phil-ID, unless of course that fear is based on anything that borders to illegal. If at all, the Phil-ID will even aid in our drive against the social menaces of poverty, corruption, and criminal issues, as well as terrorism and violent extremism,” he stressed.
Also on Monday, Duterte lead a ceremony to mark the passage of the Bangsamoro Organic bill into law which gave meaningful autonomy to the Moro people in Mindanao.
Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus G. Dureza said the ceremony, which comes a little over a week after the President signed the law, symbolizes the major milestone in the Bangsamoro peace process.
“True to his campaign promise, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte has signed the Bangsamoro Organic Law, fulfilling his desire to bring peace in Mindanao,” he said.
“The Bangsamoro Organic Law is an extraordinary law. It is the product of years of peace negotiations with the Moro revolutionary groups and the stakeholders in Mindanao,” he added.
Formerly known as the Bangsamoro Basic Law, the BOL is premised on the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, a signed peace deal. The BOL is part of the Duterte administration’s agenda to achieve national reconciliation with the Moro rebel groups.
Congress has extensively deliberated on the BOL and made sure that the law is within the bounds of the Constitution, and national sovereignty and territorial integrity, at the same time ensuring that the interests of all sectors are respected.
Dureza said the challenge is now for the country to “work hard to achieve the Bangsamoro Organic Law’s vision to bring peace and development and rectify past injustices to be able to work together in the days ahead.”
This developed as the Central Committee of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) agreed to officially declare its acceptance of the BOL.
MILF Chair Al Haj Murad Ebrahim said since the representatives of all MILF groups had expressed their acceptance of the law during the Bangsamoro Consultative Assembly on July 29 in Camp Darapanan, the Central Committee “held a special meeting on August 1, 2018 and agreed to officially declare its acceptance of the BOL as ratified by both Houses of Congress and signed by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.”
Nabil Tan, Deputy Presidential Peace Adviser and Chair of the Government Implementing Panel for the GPH-MILF peace accord, said the BOL “should be seen not as a privilege for a few but as the government’s recognition of the Moros’ right to chart their political future through a democratic process as enshrined and guaranteed in the Constitution.”
“The legal framework is now ready, and it is now upon us, the stakeholders – Moros and non-Moros – to put our acts together to make it work,” he said. Ghadzali Jaafar, chair of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC), described Monday’s event as the beginning of “a better tomorrow” in the Bangsamoro homeland.
“The signing of the Bangsamoro Organic Law by our very own President Rodrigo Roa Duterte paves the way for the coming and establishment of a just and dignified peace in the Moro land. It is a dawn of hope for a better tomorrow. Indeed, it is a beginning of a new chapter in the history of the Moro people in their quest for a better life and progressive community where people are living together harmoniously free from oppression,” he said.
For the MILF Implementing Panel Chair Mohagher Iqbal, Monday’s event is the culmination of the more than 17 years of peace negotiations between the government and the MILF.
“As Chair of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Peace Implementing Panel and member of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission, I consider it a great honor to witness this event, proof of all those years of hard work in name of just and lasting peace in the Bangsamoro and the rest of Mindanao,” he added.
Iqbal also reiterated the fact that the signing of the BOL is “just the beginning. The real challenge lies ahead, or the implementation of the important commitments stipulated in the signed peace agreements, from the establishment of the transition government to the Normalization process.”