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Secure Filipino ID system assured

Quezon City (December 20) -- There will be sufficient safeguards to ensure the security and integrity of the Philippine national identification (ID) system. This was the assurance given by House of Representatives Committee on Population and Family Relations chairperson Marisol 'Sol' Aragones-Sampelo to government chief information officers (CIOs) during their year-end general membership meeting held recently at the Crowne Plaza in Quezon City.

Speaking before members of the CIO Forum, an organization of heads of information and communucations technology (ICT) offices and departments in government, Rep. Aragones-Sampelo, who is one of the key proponents of the national ID system, also asked the participants to help ensure that "perceived risks that often accompany new technologies will not deter the country from adopting them in implementing the national ID system."

Undersecretary and Officer-in-Charge of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) Eliseo Rio, Jr., on the other hand, said the DICT fully supports and will help ensure the successful implementation of the ID system nationwide. Rio, who retired as Brigadier General of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and served as Commissioner of the National Telecommunications Commission, spoke of current efforts to improve and speed up Internet access throughout the country. This will allow Filipinos to access or avail of government services wherever they are, he said.

Expressing full support to President Duterte’s desire to allow one or two additional players in the telecommunications industry, Rio said the entry of more telecommunications providers will spur greater competition, resulting in improved services and lower costs thus benefitting Filipinos.

Both Sampelo and Rio were keynote speakers during the CIO Forum event, which had as its theme, "Forging and Securing the Filipino Identity in the Cloud." It was the fourth and culminating event for the year of the CIO Forum.

It may be recalled that House Bill 6221, which seeks to establish a "Filipino Identification System" or "FilSys" was passed by the House of Representatives last September 2017. The Senate hopes to pass its counterpart bill during the first quarter of 2018. In anticipation of its passage into law next year, the Philippine Statistics Authority, as lead implementing agency, has been initially allotted P2 billion in the 2018 national budget to implement the FilSys.

Undersecretary Rio told CIOs and industry experts from Amazon Web Services, Trend Micro, Valueline, Microsoft Philippines, Globe Business, and American Technologies Inc. of the planned Luzon bypass submarine cable to be built by the Bases Conversion and Development Authority and to be supplied by Facebook with data capacity of two terrabits per second.

The CIO Forum aimed to find ways to actively forge and secure the emerging digital Filipino identity as part of a national growth strategy, instead of simply allowing technological developments to define who the Filipino will be. Discussions revolved around digital identity management, securing sensitive data, building and implementing secure data services in the cloud. A panel discussion with innovators also addressed concerns on securing sensitive data on the cloud.

The Forum emphasized the urgent need for a secure digital Filipino ID amidst the wave of technological change encroaching on all aspects of life, punctuated by buzzwords such as digital transformation and disruption, Internet of Things, Industry 4.0, artificial intelligence and machine deep learning, and augmented reality. (vmg171220)

Chief Information Officers Forum Inc. (CIOF), Manila, Philippines; email: webmaster