Palace on passport data mess: Requiring birth certificates again for renewal ‘cumbersome’

Credit to Author: The Manila Times| Date: Mon, 14 Jan 2019 04:12:32 +0000

APPLICANTS for passport renewal should not be burdened by requiring them to bring their birth certificates after the personal data breach, Malacanang said on Monday.

Palace spokesman Salvador Panelo made the statement after Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr said the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) needed to “rebuild” its database for passports issued before 2010 after a “previous outsourced passport maker took all the data when contract terminated.”

However, Panelo, in his statement, rejected the DFA’s the idea of requiring applicants to bring their birth certificate for passport renewal, noting that this will require another application process before the Philippine Statistics Authority.

“Applicants should not be burdened by submitting original copies of their certificates of live birth, obtaining which requires another application process before the Philippine Statistics Authority, to renew their passports just because the producer lost their relevant data,” Panelo said.

“The submission of the old or current passport which the applicant seeks to renew should suffice for the purpose. The ongoing practice is not only cumbersome to everyone affected but is a form of red tape which this administration frowns upon and will not tolerate,” he said.

The Palace official said, however, that the passport breach was a “serious and grave matter.”

Panelo said the National Privacy Commission (NPC) has been directed to investigate the incident and ascertain whether certain provisions of the Data Privacy Act of 2012, have been violated, particularly with respect to the personal information of the data subjects.

“The investigation should not, however, end here since the current arrangement for the printing of passports should also be examined to determine if there are violations of pertinent laws which may be detrimental to the public,” he said.

“We are one with the Filipino people in their quest for truth and so we will not treat this issue lightly,” the Palace official added.

The DFA said previously that applicants renewing their green and maroon passports are required to bring their birth certificates so the agency could restore their information on its database; those with dark brown e-passports are excluded.

This new requirement comes after the DFA revealed on Saturday that a terminated contractor took government data before leaving.

The NPC assured the public it would investigate the possible data breach.

“Any form of non-availability of personal data, infringement of the rights of data subjects, and harms from processing that include inconveniencing the public, must be adequately explained to the satisfaction of the law,” it said. CATHERINE VALENTE


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