DFA PASSPORT DATA BREACH: LOCSIN, NPC TO INVESTIGATE
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. has vowed for an ‘autopsy’ behind the hot issue the Department of Affairs (DFA) is in right now: the alleged data breach in the passport system which had been reported stolen by the former contractor.
The passport requirements, which Locsin had questioned lately on why in renewal, another birth certificate is required, immediately stemmed out the issue of data theft.
Malacañang recently lambasted this ongoing practice of DFA.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said that 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 added.
DFA requires holders of “older” or non-electronic passports for renewal to submit their birth certificates after the agency revealed that all existing data had been lost to a previous contractor.
Oberthur, the former private contractor, had reportedly ran away with all the passport data when its contract was abruptly terminated to give way to the entry of APO Printing Unit, a small and less-known division under the Presidential Communications Office.
Hired by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) through bidding, Oberthur is a French company tasked to supply all the materials necessary to produce the machine-readable electronic passports (MREPs).
From 2006 to 2015, BSP was the official printer of Philippine passport. Its agreement with the DFA was terminated three years ago to give way to APO’s entry.
Locsin then reacted recently to these following reports.
In a series of tweets over the weekend, Locsin suggested a senate probe, in order to unmask those who perpetrated the crime, and for the Department of Justice (DOJ) to file the necessary charges.
He said, “I will autopsy the yellows who did the passports deal alive. This is called evisceration.” Locsin is apparently referring to the people closely identified with the Aquino administration.
Locsin pointed out, that the current problem DFA is in right now, had began from the administration of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and had worsen under the term of President Benigno Aquino III.
Senators, VP also in hunt
Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson said that an investigation is now in order, probing the passport data loss. He said that this is to ensure the vital information would not be compromised in the future.
Lacson said that the time is now right to look into the contracts entered by the government with private companies, eventually putting important data at risk.
On the other hand, in spite the open tirades of Locsin against “yellows”—referring directly to the color of the Liberal Party, Vice President Ma. Leonor “Leni” Robredo seeks to charge the former contractor for running away with the passport data of the Filipinos.
In her Sunday radio show, “BISErbisyong Leni,” she was asked if charges against the perpetrators would be pursued.
Without hesitation, she agreed. “Kasi hindi bahagi ng pag-aari niya iyon,” Robredo said.
NPC to Investigate DFA
While Perfecto Yasay, former Foreign Affairs Secretary said on ANC’s “Hot Copy,” that he does not believe the previous sub-contractor for Philippine passports had left together with the passport data.
He pointed out that Locsin might be misinformed about the data breach.
As Malacañang assured on this issue that the National Privacy Commission (NPC) would soon take the move to conduct an investigation on the Department of Foreign Affairs’ assertion that a former contractor had taken the data of the passport holder
“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,” NPC said.
“We will summon the DFA and concerned agencies including the alleged contractor to determine the facts surrounding the case,” it added.