Centralized documents system for gov’t transactions pushed

MANILA — A party-list lawmaker on Wednesday stressed the need to centralize and secure the document management system for public service transactions to combat the proliferation of fake documents.

AangatTayo Rep. Neil Abayon said there are “simply too many Filipinos” who take shortcuts or resort to fake or doctored documents whenever they transact business with government offices.

“Here in our country, we have a widespread underground industry engaged in the production of fake certificates, identification cards, diplomas, transcripts of records, baptismal records, birth certificates, medical test results, and various other documents. It has become a culture of utter disregard of basic decency and laws of the land,” Abayon said.

“I believe the government agencies must now come together to develop common protocols and a centralized, most secure database or network of databases through which all documents for transactions with government offices shall be submitted, processed and stored,” he added.

He said the Department of Information and Communications Technology, National Privacy Commission, Philippine Statistics Authority, and other agencies responsible for data “must take on this long-term challenge”, requiring hefty capital, technology, and manpower resources.

Abayon, however, lauded the Land Transportation Office (LTO) for putting in place new measures to make sure medical certificates of driver’s license applicants are appropriate and necessary to ensure road safety.

“LTO is right in putting in place the new measures and procedures. Clinics, doctors, and hospitals that issue medical certificates have legal obligations to the public and in this situation to the LTO as the agency of the State that issues driver’s licenses,” he said.

Abayon added that the LTO’s move will lessen medically unfit drivers on the road and will make roads safer for law-abiding drivers.

The lawmaker noted that the new Philippine national ID system is one way to address the problem of fake documents faced by many other government agencies.

The Philippine System Identification Act (PhilSys Act) mandates the government to create a single official identification card for all citizens and foreign residents that would serve as a de facto national identification number.

It aims to provide an efficient services delivery, enhance administrative governance, reduce corruption, curtail bureaucratic red tape, promote ease of doing business, and strengthen financial inclusion.

The government will start testing the design for the national identification (ID) system in the first quarter as it aims to initially register five million Filipino citizens this year. (PNA