Bayan Muna says data loss could’ve been prevented if gov’t did the printing

  • Bayan Muna party-list said data loss could have been prevented if Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and National Printing Office did the printing
  • Passport maker took all data after the contract was terminated
  • NPC Chairman Raymund Liboro said the public do not need to panic because it does not automatically mean confidentiality and integrity issue is at stake
Image capture from ABS-CBN News’ YouTube video

Bayan Muna party-list representative Carlo Zarate and chairman Neri Colmenares said passport data loss could have been prevented if government entities such as the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) or the National Printing Office did the printing.

Colmenares, as posted on the GMA News website, said the people are in threat of identity theft because the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) tapped a private corporation to do an essential work that only the government should have done.

DFA Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. explained that the department requiring passport holders to submit their birth certificates in renewing their passports was because the passport maker took all the data when its contract was terminated.

Zarate filed a House Resolution to investigate the passport anomalies under the foreign department, which includes the joint venture agreement between Apo Production Unit Inc. (APUI) and United Graphic Expression Corporation (UGEC).

The contract agreement mandated UGEC to print 3.4-million passports per year, yet it is no longer using abaca component for security paper.

He said the removal of abaca material is not only a possible contractual violation but may compromise the security and reliability of UGEC-printed passports.

Zarate said Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo had formerly commented the passport project is “questionable” after the former subcontracted it to UGEC.

“So it imperative that DFA Sec. Teddy Boy Locsin should participate at the Congress hearings investigating the issue because there may be some very serious security implications that may be unearthed,” Zarate said.

PNP Chief Director General Oscal Albayalde said the data loss is not only a threat to public security but to identities of the Filipino people, especially that many got passports and disclosed their information.

Locsin said, as shared by Philippine Star, that no information was leaked yet after the contractor took it. However, the DFA needs to create a new passport database.

National Privacy Commission (NPC) Chairman Raymund Liboro said the public need not panic because non-availability of data has many causes.

If the data can’t be accessed, this does not mean, he said, that confidentiality and integrity is already an issue.