Philippine National ID - Why It Makes Sense

Sunday, May 15, 2011

This issue maybe a bit late, but let me take a shot anyway. It's still as relevant today as it was 7 years ago.

I remember when I was in college, people were pushing for a National ID system and as expected, it was the subject of much debate. People who were against the thing had come up with a lot of reasons:

1. It can be used by the government to track down each and every one of us.
2. It will cost a lot to implement
3. (this coming from a DLSU student council) If we lose our card, we lose our identity
4. It will promote extrajudicial killings

Long and short of it is, barring point #2, most reasons given are buck retarded.

Here's why:

1. It can be used by the government to track down each and every one of us.

It's the job of the government to track us down. Whether it's for paying taxes, knowing whether or not we're breaking laws, or just dead already. That's why they're called the government. The same data that the government already has will just get more organized, hence easier to reference. While at first it may sound shitty on your part, if it's going to work for other people too, it can be beneficial in so many ways. More on that later.

2. It will cost a lot to implement
This is true, but the cost of implementation will be easily overtaken in the long run by reduced overhead in maintaining a lot of other incompatibly information systems. Do you remember your SSS no, TIN no, License no, Passport no, and Birth Serial no? If you can't, the government has to remember millions of those datasets and be expected to connect them all together if need be. That sort of responsibility costs money to enforce. In HK, do you know how long it takes to clear immigration? One minute. Your ID, then your finger print, then you're good to go.

3. (this coming from a DLSU student council member) If we lose our card, we lose our identity.

Seriously, fuck the guy who uttered this. I hope he's already dead at this point in time so as to minimize the chance that his asinine genes will be passed on to the next generation. This is not a valid argument when discussing the matter with people with IQs not pegged with the current Peso to dollar rate.

4. It will promote extrajudicial killings
Since the first three arent really very compelling, I suspect the opposition tossed this one in just to make things festive and relevant to GMA's favorite pasttime. I honestly doubt giving a unique number to every citizen will cause them to be the target of deathsquads. It's just fucking impossible. But hey, might as well right?

See, every person needs an a unique IDENTIFIER. That's what a National ID is. More than a plastic piece of card, a national ID is a number, a set of characters, a sequence that is unique for every citizen. It's more unique than names, because as any of the six bajilion Filipino Chinese living in Binondo named Alex Tan will tell you, names can be very common and confusing. The national id can be used in place of all the government IDs that we have right now, the SSS, NBI, TIN, Passport, Birth Cert, etc.

How can that be evil?

If ever there's any evil there, it's seen by subservient types - people who like the system as it is - fragmented. Faking a personality is all the harder when everybody is referencing everybody, in the same way it's easier in Friendster to create fake accounts because pictures back then weren't being tagged by other people. In facebook, if your account has no references on other accounts, it's easily pegged as fake.

The benefits are very easy to figure out. And although theyre trivial, anybody who's transacted with the government will agree that these will do a lot to improve the average lifespan of Filipinos and reduce overall deaths by red tape frustration:

1. NBI Clearances will no longer have false hits. Meaning, even if another guy with the same name as you is out there killing babies and raping cows, you won't be held against it.

2. Non-taxpayers can be easily deprived of government services until they are forced to pay. This will improve collections and LEVEL OUT THE FIELD FOR PEOPLE LIKE ME WHO GET AUTO-DEDUCTIONS EVEN BEFORE WE TOUCH THE MONEY.

3. Voting will be a lot easier. When a death certificate is filed, mark the status of the ID profile as deceased. It's easier to track who's dead and who's alive when the status of voters is updated in a same list as birth/death certificates. As an added bonus, tax payers skipping payment can be prevented from voting. Imagine that.

4. No need to apply for 5 different cards. You just need one. Bank applications can be easier, as with pretty much everything that needs to verify your existence.

5. It's be so much easier to associate people to anything from phone numbers to internet addresses, making it all the more easier to track down kidnappers, and other criminal, subversive elements. It may sound draconian, but come on, if you're not planning anything radical, why should you be alarmed?

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