The National Privacy Commission (NPC) is urging local government authorities to practice transparency with responsibility when posting the identities of the financial beneficiaries of the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) on social media.
“We understand that using social media platforms is a quick and accessible method to reach the public and uploading the list of SAP beneficiaries through these platforms may be considered an efficient way to exercise transparency in utilizing public fund,” the NPC said in a statement.
However, NPC warned that public disclosure of personal information should strictly adhere to the principle of proportionality. “Local Government Units (LGUs) must determine the types of personal data that they will disclose, particularly when the original list of SAP beneficiaries contains sensitive personal information,” said NPC.
The Data Privacy Act does not prohibit LGUs to disclose information which it deems essential for the public to know in the name of transparency. Nevertheless, LGUs should be mindful of its concomitant responsibilities as personal information controllers.
NPC has noted of at least 6 LGUs but more are being assessed that include unnecessary personal information of SAP beneficiaries such as disabilities, complete address with house number and age in the list. The privacy watchdog has already called the attention of these LGUs to take down or redact these unnecessary information.
NPC’s chief public information and assistance division officer Roren Marie M. Chin explained that some LGUs are posting the complete address and contact number of SAP beneficiaries.
Other barangays also include the physical disabilities like psychological disabilities in the list of SAP beneficiaries list and those that qualify for their programs. These kinds of information are considered sensitive personal information already.
Personal information are information that can lead to the identity of an individual while sensitive personal information are individual’s race, ethnic origin, marital status, age, color, and religious, philosophical or political affiliations. But there is a difference on how these personal information can be processed.