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Lost data ‘yellow’ ops

Mario J. Mallari

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The anomalous passport deal initiated by officials of former President Benigno Aquino led by his Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario caused the lost data fiasco at the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), two top diplomats of President Rodrigo Duterte said yesterday.

Locsin said he is out to “autopsy” officials of the previous administration

“Another ‘yellow’ blunder!”

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said in a social media post he is out to “autopsy” officials of the previous administration who are responsible for the “crooked deal.”

LOCSIN

I will autopsy the yellows who did the passport deal alive. This is called evisceration

Former Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. added the passport mess can be traced from the time of Del Rosario, his predecessor.

Yasay narrated in his online account that the problem started when the DFA, in 2015, awarded the printing of electronic passports to APO Production Unit Inc. (APUI) despite an existing agreement between the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and Francois-Charles Oberthur Fiduciare (FCOF) of France.

According to Yasay, the BSP and the DFA on 1 August 2006 entered into a memorandum of agreement (MoA) covering the procurement and centralized production of machine-readable electronic passports (MREP) in compliance with the standards required by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

In a series of social media posts, Locsin said the passport mess started during the term of former President and now Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo but worsened during the Aquino administration.

Locsin vowed the current Duterte administration will address the loss of passport data by the DFA due to the “crooked deal.”

Alarming dev’t
The Department of National Defense and the National Privacy Commission (NPC) said investigations will be made.

Any form of non-availability of personal data must be adequately explained.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana also branded the reported data fiasco as alarming, citing the possibility that information lost could be used illegally.

Lorenzana said the defense establishment will coordinate with the DFA regarding the matter.

“If true, then it is a very grave security concern and is quite alarming. These are personal information such as full name, date and place of birth and other information that could be used illegally,” he said. “We will get in touch with the DFA to find out the details of this issue and how to mitigate its ill effect.”

The NPC will also ask DFA officials to submit to a probe, adding it will also summon the alleged passport contractor.

“Any form of non-availability of personal data, infringement of the rights of data subjects and harms from processing that include inconveniencing the public, must be adequately explained to the satisfaction of the law,” NPC Commissioner Raymund Enriquez Liboro said.

“The NPC shall conduct its own investigation on the assertion that a private contractor has caused the non-availability of Filipino passport data and other documents entrusted to it for processing,” Liboro added.

Bad to worse
“The problem started under GMA’s (Arroyo’s initials) DFA and got worse under PNoy’s (Aquino) DFA. It will be solved by PRRD’s (Duterte’s initials) DFA under Locsin,” Locsin posted.

“The yellow crowd who perpetrated the passport fraud are in a panic because we’re gonna autopsy their crooked deal. Period,” he added.

“Yellow” refers to the Liberal Party (LP), headed by Aquino.

“I will autopsy the yellows who did the passport deal alive. This is called evisceration,” Locsin vowed.

For now, Locsin said he wanted the processing of passports expedited.

“I just want passports quickened by doing away with any requirement but a prior passport. Anything else is Senate’s and DoJ’s (Department of Justice) job,” he stated.

Beans spilt
In the implementation of its obligations under the MoA, the BSP awarded through bidding the main part of the project to FCOF.

“However, on 5 October 2015, while the FCOF contract with BSP was subsisting and even as the MREP made by FCOF continued to be fully compliant with the standards of ICAO, the DFA awarded the production of a new e-Passport system to APO Production Unit Inc., a government printing facility without bidding on condition that no part of the contract can be subcontracted or assigned to a private printer,” Yasay said.

“In stark violation of this condition, APUI engaged the services of the United Graphic Expression Corporation for the production of the new e-passports,” he added.

With Francis Earl Cueto

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