Commission urged to explain data gathering methodologies

BAGUIO CITY –  The City Council, during last Monday’s regular session, invited the responsible officials of the National Privacy Commission to provide information in aid of legislation on the pertinent provisions of the Data Privacy Act of 2012 to the local legislative body at the earliest available date.

In a resolution, local legislators stated that the aforesaid Commission is the authority in charge of the implementation of the pertinent provisions of the Data Privacy Act of 2012, thus, the need for the same to expound on the pertinent provisions of the law governing the implementation of data gathering and the use of data gathering methodologies.

The council pointed that there is a need for the Commission to clarify as to what extent people should provide personal information that will not invade on their privacy for them to be able to comply with the prevailing implementation of the basic health and safety protocols to contain the spread of the dreaded Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the city over the past 9 months where various levels of community quarantine were enforced in the country.

Earlier, residents and tourists alike are being made to fill out forms bearing their personal information as part of the local government’s implementation of the prevailing basic health and safety protocols that aims to contain the rapid spread of the virus in the different parts of the city.

However, the council admitted that there is reluctance by most residents in filling out such forms, citing gross violations to their rights to personal information based on the provisions of the Data Privacy Act amidst the assurance from concerned authorities that the data that will be gathered will be properly secured.

According to the council, it is important for the officials of the National Privacy Commission to shed light on the matter during upcoming regular sessions of the local legislative body so that residents and tourists as well as those implementing the aforesaid policy will be clarified on the matter to avoid doubts on the real intent of the data gathering and the security of the information that will be derived from the data gathering activity.

At present, the local government started mandating city officials and employees as well as the people transacting business in city hall to register in the Baguio In My Pocket (BIMP) online registration platform for them to be able to enter the structure using their issued QR codes as part of the ongoing implementation of transformation and for other purposes that the same may serve.

Further, the registration to the same will also allow the residents to be able to easily avail of the services being provided by the city and for cashless transactions which is own being encouraged among the transport and business sectors of the city as part of the mechanisms that had been put in place to minimize personal contacts which had been identified as one of the reasons on the spread of the virus in the community.

City officials assured the residents of the credibility of the company handling the data being gathered from every individual where the same will be protected by the established layers of security that had been put in place to ensure the safety of the data. –  Dexter A. See