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Gov’t orders investigation on DFA passport data breach

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Monday, 14 January 2019 10:30 AM

Philippine passport
Philippine passport

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang on Monday (January 14) assured that the National Privacy Commission (NPC) has already been ordered to investigate the recent passport data breach at the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) which the Palace considered as a “serious and grave matter”.

The incident, disclosed by Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddy Boy Locsin himself, stemmed when a previous contractor got disappointed that its contract was terminated and left with all passport applicants’ data.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo in a statement on Monday said the NPC has been directed also “to ascertain whether certain provisions of Republic Act No. 10173, otherwise known as the Data Privacy Act of 2012, have been violated, particularly with respect to the personal information of the data subjects.”

Panelo explained that applicants “should not be burdened” by submitting original copies of their birth certificates and the submission of the old or current passport should be enough requirement to renew their passports.

“The ongoing practice is not only cumbersome to everyone affected but is a form of red tape which this administration frowns upon and will not tolerate,” Panelo said.

“The investigation should not, however, end here since the current arrangement for the printing of passports should also be examined to determine if there are violations of pertinent laws which may be detrimental to the public,” he added.

In a tweet on Sunday (January 13), Locsin assured that there is “no leak so far” of the passport holders’ data.

“But the data is possibly hopelessly corrupted and at any rate inaccessible now or we are being lied to as usual,” he said.

Image grabbed from Teddy Locsin Jr. twitter

In another tweet, Locsin said he will definitely identify those behind the mess which he considers a prelude to “social media campaign against” him by his detractors.

Image grabbed from Teddy Locsin Jr. twitter

Marje Pelayo

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DFA cautions Filipinos in Libya amid armed clashes

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Friday, 18 January 2019 12:04 PM

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Thursday (January 17) cautioned Filipinos in Tripoli in view of renewed armed encounter in the district of Qasir Ben Ghashir and the continuous buildup of military in the area.

In a report, the Philippine Embassy said there were at least six people already killed and 20 others wounded since the clashes began on Wednesday (January 16).

Chargé d’Affaires Mardomel Melicor urged Filipinos in Qasir Ben Ghashir as well as Wadi Al Rabea, Tariq Matar, Esbea and adjoining districts in Tripoli to move to safety and monitor the situations in their areas.

They are advised to stay indoors and avoid unnecessary travels and prepare for immediate evacuation should the fighting reaches their locations.

The Embassy calls on Filipinos to report to the hotline numbers +218 91 824 4208 for assistance.

There are some 1,800 Filipinos currently residing and working in Tripoli, according to the Embassy. – Marje Pelayo

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No need for birth certificates in renewal of passports — DFA

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Wednesday, 16 January 2019 08:14 AM

Philippine passport

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Foreign Affairs issued a new order removing the submission of birth certificates in the renewal of passports.

In a tweet, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddy Locsin Jr. said that the presentation of the old passport is “more than sufficient” when applying for a new one.

The new directive comes amid the data breach controversy hounding the department wherein its former passport printing contractor allegedly ran off with the personal information of passport holders.

The new DFA order however, states that presentation of birth certificate is still required for the following conditions:

  • First-time passport applicants
  • Applicants whose names appear on the DFA’s watchlist
  • Renewal of lost or damaged passports
  • Renewal of passport due to name change
  • Renewal of brown passports, green passports, machine readable passports (maroon) or any older passports

In an interview, Sec. Locsin asked for the public’s understanding while the department is sorting the data breach issue.

Locsin posted on Twitter that passport data is not “run-away-able” but made inaccessible.

He added that the current passport printing contractor, APO Production Unit Incorporated, assured him that they were able to access the data but most of it are already corrupted.

Former DFA secretary Perfecto Yasay had earlier said that Locsin was “misinformed” and his accusations against the former contractor are false and malicious. — Joan Nano | UNTV News and Rescue

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Passport data theft, a threat to national security – PNP

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Tuesday, 15 January 2019 12:17 PM

QUEZON CITY, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) considers the recent passport data breach in the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) a threat to the privacy of every passport holder and the national security.

PNP Chief DG Oscar Albayalde said that even though the DFA has not yet coordinated the investigation of the incident with them, he assured the PNP’s support in the resolution of the case once the agency seeks their services, especially because the PNP’s Anti-Cybercrime Group is very active when it comes to cases of identity theft.

“We are very much willing to help them. Sabi ko nga it can be a threat to the national security and to the privacy of the individuals concern,” the PNP Chief said.

“We have the ACG at ITMS na pwedeng tumulong and of course, the CIDG kung kinakailangang magkaroon ng active police operations,” he assured.

It can be recalled that DFA Secretary Teddy Locsin confirmed that the private contractor responsible for passport production ran and “took away” the passport applicants’ data after its contract was terminated. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

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