A Press Statement by the KARAPATAN Alliance for the Advancement of People's Rights
May 12, 2017
Amid the growing number of military generals holding top posts in the government bureaucracy, the proposed bill on the national ID system, which was recently approved by the House Committee on Population, is bound to lead to wholesale violation of people’s rights to freedom of movement and privacy, right against surveillance, and right to unhampered and non-discriminatory provision of social services.
Such proposed measures will legitimize the already existing violations of the rights of the people. Many activists and political dissenters were subjected to surveillance by the state. Worse, their names were listed in the so-called “order of battle” by the Armed Forces of the Philippine (AFP) and other similar lists as part of the counter-insurgency program of the government. With the continuing spate of illegal arrests and detention of activists, we believe that this policy and practice continues to this day.
The proposed National ID system will aggravate the already bleak human rights situation in the country where human rights defenders and political dissenters are subjects of surveillance, threats, illegal arrests and detention, enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings. Its conspicuous timing is also in the context of increased militarization of the civilian bureaucracy, the continuing implementation of counter-insurgency programs, and killings in line with the war on drugs.
We take exception that such draconian measures are being pursued in the guise of purportedly addresses problems in the bureaucracy on the delivery of social services. The inefficiency in government transactions is deeply rooted in a corrupt system. A more productive response to the need for an efficient system of delivering government service to the people is through the prioritization and allocation of necessary funds for the social services, instead of giving a lion’s share of public funds to the unproductive concerns of the defense sector. A more comprehensive response to criminal activities should start with the investigation and prosecution of criminal elements mostly in the Philippine National Police itself and the political biggies who protect these syndicates.