With the Senate leadership recently usurped by Duterte apologist and minion Tito Sotto, with the Supreme Court, now free of Duterte arch-critic Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno, and with the rubber-stamp lower house of Congress, the enactment of the National ID system by the fascist Duterte now seems to be imminent. This totalitarian measure was first proposed more than two decades ago and has long been fiercely resisted by democratic sectors.
Wielding his new unbound powers, Duterte is now testing the waters with his push to enact the fascist National ID system. If he could get away with this, it is likely that he will push with far more insidious measures such as the plan for charter change to give Duterte greater authority, including less restrictions on his power to declare martial law, and pave the way for perpetuating himself in power under one or another pretext.
The National ID system will practically be reviving the detested cedula system which the Spanish colonial power used to control the movement of people and suppress their democratic rights. In the hands of Duterte, the National ID system is bound to be a weapon of suppression, a weapon of mass monitoring and surveillance to track everyone’s movement, and to bribe and arm-twist, especially against Duterte’s political critics and dissenters.
The Party urges all democratic sectors to unite firmly and oppose vigorously the National ID system, advance their resistance against Duterte’s various dictatorial schemes and his fascist abuses under Oplan Kapayapaan and Mindanao martial law, fight the regime’s anti-people and burdensome policies especially against the workers, peasants and oppressed economic classes, and put an end to widespread and large-scale corruption, surrender of the country’s sovereignty and subservience to foreign imperialist interests.
Please read further below the slightly edited statement by the CPP Information Bureau first issued on September 5, 2017.
National ID system in the hands of murderous strongman will have dreadful results
Duterte’s feverish push to implement a National ID system is part of his machinations to establish a totalitarian state of mass surveillance, population control, social, political and criminal profiling and mass murder.
The draft law of the National ID system has been bulldozed by Duterte’s supermajority of political allies in the House of Representatives. Will the GRP Senate pass the proposed ID system with similar dispatch and prove itself to be no more than a rubberstamp than the lower house is?
The Party joins the Filipino people in opposing the National ID system. In the hands of the Duterte regime, especially its security, military and police agencies, the National ID system will serve as an additional weapon for fascist suppression. There will be dreadful results once such a weapon is placed in the hands of a strong-man tyrant as Duterte who is obsessed with summary killings and mass murder as “solution” to social problems, to silence his political opponents and suppress people’s resistance.
Such a system has long been proposed by the AFP and PNP and US military and security advisers to facilitate mass surveillance through the centralization of the collection and storage (or databasing) of personal information. Past regimes have failed to push the National ID system confronted with popular opposition. The US imperialists will congratulate Duterte if he succeeds on ramming the repressive system.
Duterte’s proposed system aims to collect an inclusive list of personal information in violation of civil rights. Duterte’s National ID system will be a deathblow to privacy rights. In the hands of a repressive and oppressive state, the collection of such information will surely be weaponized and used as a tool for mass surveillance, social, political and criminal profiling.
In many capitalist countries, centralized databases of personal information collected officially as well as illegally have been used by military and security agencies for mass surveillance and “terrorist profiling” leading to stigmatizing of social, religious and political groups and false accusations against individuals.
To conceal its insidious aims and dupe the people to support the proposed identification system, the Duterte regime makes false claims that the National ID will serve to expedite the delivery of government service. Such claims are put to dispute by the fact that the Duterte regime continues to cut the budget for public education and public health and other important social services.
How can a National ID system help facilitate the provision of public health when government hospitals are, in fact, being commercialized and privatized in whole and in part? If the priority of government is to provide everyone with free public health, free education, free public housing, public transportation and so on, there is no need for a National ID system for the people to benefit from these. A national system of identification has nothing to do with the efficiency in the provision of public service.
Neither does computerization make a clean government. This is starkly demonstrated by continuing widespread corruption in government agencies which has computerized its record-keeping and processing. Manipulation of election results in the Philippines have become more widespread, albeit less obvious, through automation.