All passport data safe, DFA tells NPC

DFA Photos by Mark Santos.

MANILA — The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Monday assured the National Privacy Commission (NPC) that all passport data are safe in the agency’s custody.

Data Protection Officer and Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Medardo Macaraig, Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs Neil Frank Ferrer, and other DFA officials made a full presentation on the passport process and told the privacy commission “that measures are in place to protect the personal data of passport applicants” in its entire ISO-certified process.

“The Department assured the Commission that it takes extremely seriously the protection of the personal information of the public and that all passport data is safe,” DFA Spokesperson Elmer Cato said in a statement sent to reporters.

“The Department remains in custody and control of passport data and that this has not been shared with or accessed by any unauthorized party,” he added.

The meeting between the NPC and DFA comes following the remarks of DFA Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. on an alleged passport data loss within the agency.

In view of the clarification that no breach occurred, Cato said the DFA “is hoping that it was able to address the concerns of the Commission.”

Cato said the DFA remains ready to cooperate with the NPC, as well as with Congress, in an inquiry to be conducted on the issue.

“The Department is also hoping that it was able to assuage the concerns of the public on this issue that has also resulted in improvements in the passport application process,” he added.

The DFA on Tuesday last week issued Department Order 03-2019 removing the submission of birth certificates as a requirement for passport renewals. (PNABy Joyce Ann L. Rocamora

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