by Joel Roja/Asianjournal.com
JUSTICE Secretary Raul Gonzalez on Wednesday proposed the conduct of a dry run to test the proposed national identification (ID) system after some sectors expressed apprehension that its implementation might lead to human rights abuses.
In an interview, Gonzalez told mediamen that he believes that the benefits of the ID system far overweights the consequences.
“There may be basis to these apprehensions because the fact that in our country, a lot of infringements of certain rights have been discovered but as I said, you must weigh the benefits from the perceived evil which people are scared about,” Gonzalez stressed.
He pointed out that the fear of the Filipinos can be traced to the abuses that were committed during the Martial Law years.
The DOJ chief said the ID system can be used by the military in its effort to neutralize terrorist and communist groups in the country. It will also help people in their daily transactions with government and private offices.
He further said that that the possible consequences and abuses in the identification system like loss of privacy and eavesdropping can addressed through its strict implementation of the law and by creating sufficient safeguards.
Gonzalez added that the Congress should further debate on the ID system in order to give people more information about its pros and cons.
“The common belief is that it might be abused, that privacy might be violated but I think it’s a matter of enforcement. Just as in any other regulations, it’s actually how you carry everything out and if there are excesses, how to prevent the excesses.
Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, earlier, stressed that the ID system cannot be implemented without an enabling law.
He cited the 1998 decision of the Supreme Court stating that only Congress can pass a law for such a purpose.
Gonzalez is optimistic that kinks in the ID system can be ironed out through a series of dryruns.