DFA in trouble
There is trouble in the DFA. After someone complained about having to present his birth certificate when renewing his passport when the DFA should already have his personal information, DFA Secretary Locsin discovered that the former company that produces the passports, left and took with them all the personal information in their database. This is why those with passports issued on or before 2009 had to submit their birth certificates again, so the DFA can include them in their digital database. Those renewing passports issued in 2010 onwards do not need to do so, as the DFA already has them in their database.
This is actually alarming. Personal information can be obtained, even sold to those with malicious intentions. Which is why it is the government's responsibility to safeguard it. Why it allowed the former company to just leave and take with them all the information is questionable. According to Locsin, the company was "pissed". Scorched earth, so to speak. Locsin added that the government did not sue the contractor because they were in the wrong. It probably did not want this problem to become public. Locsin is also alluding with his “kaching, kaching” tweet that someone made money from hiring another contractor. I would guess that the former company still had a contract with the government, so whether or not his replacement was legal still remains to be seen. The contractor has not been named. Locsin only describes it as a very respectable French company. Still, it should explain what it did, return the information as it is government property, and tell us why it was “pissed”. The French company probably could not contest its situation, knowing the arrogance of some officials of this administration.
The reaction of some lawmakers is also interesting. Known oppositionists are calling for a thorough investigation, and for the government to pursue said contractor to be held accountable. While the known allies of the administration seem to be unconcerned, feeling confident the information will be retrieved. Former DFA secretaries must also shed light on the situation. Secretary Locsin is the third DFA secretary of this administration. Former Secretary Yasay has already made some statements, saying this has gone on since past administrations. So why did he not speak out? If a wrongdoing was done, is it enough to just point out past administrations, which we know this administration relishes doing, and not correct it? We have yet to hear from the normally eloquent former DFA secretary Cayetano.
The current priority of the DFA is to put out the fire. Safeguards will also be placed so as not to inconvenience people, and for the problem not to repeat itself. For now, it is definitely inconvenient for those renewing to have to obtain their birth certificates. The agency providing this must be making a killing in fees. How many hundreds of thousands, if not millions have passports 2009 or earlier?