DICT working on digital vaccination ID card

Published June 27, 2021, 1:38 PM

by Argyll Cyrus Geducos

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said that the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) was working on a common digital ID that would serve as proof of a person’s vaccination against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles (PCOO / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

Nograles made the statement as the government urged the public to be vaccinated against COVID-19, especially with the Delta and Delta Plus variants posing as new threats.

In an interview with ANC’s “Headstart” this week, Nograles said the DICT was working on the common digital ID that would have a unique QR code for each Filipino.

“What we want really is a QR code. The digital vaccination ID card will be very important,” he said.

Currently, local government units (LGUs) are issuing ID cards to their constituents who got vaccinated against COVID-19. In Manila, the basic pieces of information included in the ID card are the person’s full name, birthday, barangay, date of registration to the vaccination program.

Other pieces of information about the vaccination include the date of first and second inoculation, the brand, and the name of the person who gave the vaccine, among others. The ID card also showed a QR code and the person’s photo.

Early this month, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said that the government will be launching a digital COVID-19 vaccination ID for those who have been vaccinated.

Travel incentives

Nograles said the Inter-agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases was looking into the possibility of giving incentives to fully vaccinated folks.

“That’s also being discussed– what are the advantages and what sort of incentives for [the] fully vaccinated,” he said.

“Lahat ‘yan (It would cover everyone). Both for international travelers and even domestic,” he added.

In an interview with GMA-7 on June 14, Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said having a digital ID would allow individuals to enjoy some liberties as this would serve as proof of their vaccination.

“Ito naman pong datos na kukunin natin para sa pagbabakuna, ito ay para masigurado lang talaga na unang-una bakunado na iyong tao at nang sa ganoon mabigyan siya ng mga, kumbaga, liberties na binibigay natin ngayon sa mga fully vaccinated individuals (The data we will be collecting is to ensure that a person is vaccinated so he can be given the same liberties we gave to fully vaccinated individuals),” he said.

According to Nograles, the Philippines was one of the several countries calling on the World Health Organization (WHO) to come up with the protocols for countries to have a common digital vaccine passport with a QR code.

“The digital vaccination ID card will be very important. In fact, we continue to make representations with the WHO to have a common digital card for all countries para for all travelers it will be easier and more convenient,” he said.

Privacy and discrimination

Meanwhile, Roque, in the same interview with GMA-7, eased the concern of the public about the possible privacy risks of having a digital ID.

“Basta naman mayroong garantiya na hindi magagamit sa ibang pamamaraan iyong mga impormasyon na iyon ay hindi po siya violative of the right to privacy (As long as there is a guarantee that the information won’t be used for other purposes, then it won’t violate the right to privacy),” he said.

The Palace official likewise said that having digital ID cards will not be discriminatory.

“Sa tinatawag nating equal protection clause, mayroon naman pong genuine basis for distinction doon sa mga nabakuna na at doon sa walang bakuna (Under the equal protection clause, there is a genuine basis for the distinction between the vaccinated people and those who are not),” Roque explained.

“Ang bakunado na po, mayroon ng proteksiyon laban sa seryosong pagkakasakit o ‘di naman kaya pagkakamatay laban sa COVID-19. Samantalang ang mga wala pang bakuna na seniors ay the most vulnerable diyan sa sakit na iyan (The vaccinated are protected from severe symptoms or even death caused by COVID-19 while those who are not vaccinated, including the seniors, are the most vulnerable),” he added.

Government data showed that as of June 20, a total of 8,407,342 vaccines have been administered. The National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19 reported that 2,153,942 individuals have been fully vaccinated.