DAVAO CITY — Association of Barangay Captains (ABC) president Paolo Duterte denied that he is campaigning for political office this early, as he ordered his photo taken out of the barangay (village) identification (ID) cards issued to the barangays.
In a memorandum he’s about to issue to all barangay captains, Duterte said the inclusion of his photo is “unwarranted and unnecessary.” The memorandum said his picture should not be included in the “lay out, printing and production” of the barangay ID, once the barangay captains decide to implement the system.
Duterte admitted that he was forced to issue the memorandum after copies of the barangay IDs with his pictures at the back created a stir. Davao Today earlier printed a sample of the Barangay ID card issued to Catalunan Grande residents, posing the question whether or not the younger Duterte was campaigning this early.
The young Duterte said the idea to include his photo in the barangay ID card was the initiative solely of ABC vice president Leo Aquino. The first batch of 400 ID cards was already released to the residents of barangay Wilfredo Aquino when Duterte issued his order.
He also ordered barangay captain Aquino to answer the allegations that he was “politicking” since it was the latter’s idea to include his picture in the barangay ID cards.
But Duterte said purok (subvillage) leaders in barangay Catalunan Grande had filed a resolution requesting that his picture be included, which eventually convinced him to have his picture there.
He said that no such resolution was filed by purok leaders in Barangay Wilfredo Aquino.
But Duterte defended the barangay ID system, saying that it will help curb petty crimes such as theft and will help monitor drunks and suspicious persons – who are not from his barangay – who might cause trouble. Vice-mayor Sara Duterte, the ABC president’s sister, earlier said she favors the ID system for faster delivery of government services.
The urban poor group Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay) and organizations under the umbrella Bagong Alyansang Makabayan have raised fears that the system would violate the people’s right to privacy.
Leo Bolcan, Kadamay vice chairperson, earlier noted that the barangay ID system is “prone to easy access for unlawful inquiries of one’s personal identity.” He added that this could be used as a precedent of the national ID system.
But Duterte said, he sees no threat to one’s privacy when personal information, such as the social security (SSS), tax identification (TIN) and precinct numbers are consolidated into one ID, in the form of the barangay ID.
“We all have an ID, be it a driver’s license or even a license to carry a firearm,” he argued. “Besides, it’s voluntary. The bearer has the option what he (she) wants to put in the ID card,” he said.
Kadamay pointed out that the ID system will not work if the intention is to protect the safety of the people. “The fact that it invades one’s privacy, it already imperils one’s whole existence,” Bolcan said.
Earlier, Makati mayor Jejomar Binay said Interior and Local Government Secretary Ronaldo Puno recommended the “registry of barangay inhabitants” to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. The recommendation requires all individuals — 15 years old and above — who are in residence for at least six months to register at their respective villages; after which, they will be issued ID cards.
Binay said Puno’s registry of barangay inhabitants paves the way for the National ID system. But, Duterte said he hasn’t heard about this. He said he won’t support the ID system once he sees that it would really violate the people’s rights.
According to Duterte, a village needs about 50 thousand pesos to implement the ID system. Barangay Buhangin is set to implement the system soon, making it the third village in the city after Wilfredo Aquino and Catalunan Grande to implement the barangay ID system. (Marilou M. Aguirre/davaotoday.com)