By Genalyn Kabiling
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has floated the idea of using the rapid pass system for future law enforcement activities after the lifting of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Luzon.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) may adopt the same permit technology in their road checkpoints, Lorenzana said.
The rapid pass system launched today (April 3) involves the issuance of unique QR codes to coronavirus frontliners and authorized personnel and vehicles to facilitate their swift passage at quarantine checkpoints.
The project is developed by DCTx (DEVCON Community of Technology Experts) in partnership with Department of Science and Technology.
“I’ve seen the demonstration, maganda (it is good). I share the concern of Secretary Dela Peña na puwede pa ba itong gamitin sa ibang bagay (that we can use this for other things). We should think of other things we can use this [for] after nitong lockdown na ito (after the lockdown),” Lorenzana said in a virtual press briefing on the rapid pass program launch Friday.
“But this is very good. I hope the Philippine National Police will be able to adopt this sa kanilang mga (in their) checkpoints even after the ECQ,” he added.
The database of the rapid pass system could be shared with the police force when the community quarantine is over, according to Lorenzana.
“Can we not share these data to the PNP later on for their use? They would be manning checkpoints one way or another in Metro Manila. Maybe if they have those database, then they can use them for any law enforcement activities they would like to do or they will do in the future,” the defense chief said.
When Lorenzana asked Information and Communications Technology Assistant Secretary Manny Caintic if this is possible, the official agreed as long the country’s data privacy law is followed.
“As long as we observe the data privacy mechanisms, and make sure it will not fall into the wrong hands,” Caintic said in the same press briefing.
Lorenzana, however, assured the public that the data in the rapid pass system will not used for national identification cards. The rapid pass will collect a person’s name, address, mobile number, and destinations inside the quarantine areas.
“Iba ‘yung sa national ID (The national ID is different). This is for just for temporary use during this crisis. Siguro pangalan, address lang ‘yan, at saka cellphone. Basic information siguro (Maybe the name, address, and mobile phone number will be asked, only basic information) so that we can counter-check the name with the ID the person will present,” the defense chief said.
The rapid pass, which can be requested through website https://rapidpass.ph, is expected to formally roll out at quarantine checkpoints on Monday.
According to Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, the rapid pass system is not yet mandatory for the personnel and vehicles allowed to operate during the quarantine period. The rapid pass, however, will give the holder an advantage to pass through quarantine checkpoints quickly, Nograles added.
Rapid pass holders may still be required to present their identification cards, and must undergo temperature checks in the checkpoints.
Science and Technology Secretary Fortunato dela Peña said they are still exploring the possible use of overhead thermal scanners at checkpoints.