BAYAN MUNA: PASSPORT DATA LEAK COULD HAVE BEEN PREVENTED IF PASSPORT PRINTING NOT SUBCONTRACTED TO PRIVATE CORP.
Says there may be serious security implications due to the leaks
Bayan Muna Chairman Neri Colmenares and Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani today said that the passport data leak by the private sub-contractor could have been prevented if government enterprises like Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas or the National Printing Office itself printed the passports.
“Ito kasi ang hirap kapag sinusub-contract sa mga private corporations ang mahahalagang gawain na gobyerno lang dapat ang gumagawa. Ngayon ay nasa panganib ng identity theft ang mga kababayan nating nakuhanan ng kanilang personal data,” said Colmenares.
Rep. Zarate, author of House Resolution 1608 to investigate the passport anomalies under the Department of Foreign Affairs, (DFA) earlier last year asked to look into claims that United Graphic Expression Corporation (UGEC) under a joint venture agreement (JVA) with APO Production Unit Inc., the government entity tasked with the printing of passports,
Under the JVA, UGEC is tasked to print 3.4 million passports per year, but is no longer using abaca component for security paper.
UGEC, it was also reported, has been running out of paper supply, thus, slowing down its passport production that reached only 1,946,703 as of March, 2017.
“The removal of the abaca material is not only a possible contractual violation but may also compromise the security and reliability of UGEC-printed passports,” said Rep. Zarate.
“Also on January 25, 2017, Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo supposedly issued a legal opinion declaring the agreement between APO and DFA for the Philippine Passports Project questionable after it was disclosed that APO subcontracted the work to a privately-owned printing press, UGEC,” added the Davao-based solon.
“It was also reported on the May 20, 2017 issue of the Manila Standard that APO and DFA rescinded the agreement and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) agreed to resume printing under a new contract after a 3-6 months transition period. Yet, despite BSP’s commitment, the APO-UGEC is still doing the printing of the e-passports. 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,” ended Rep.Zarate.###