Senator Edgardo J. Angara was honored by the National Press Club of the Philippines for upholding press freedom under the Data Privacy Act which was passed at the bicameral conference committee level before Congress went into recess.
On Monday, at the kick-off activity for the NPC's 60th anniversary in October, Angara was given a plaque of recognition along with other proponents of the measure namely Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, Taguig Rep. Sigfrido Tinga and Pasig City Rep. Roman Romulo.
They were recognized for accommodating the NPC's request to revise some provisions of the Data Privacy Act to ensure that freedom of the press would not be endangered.
Angara, who was unable to attend the event as he is on an official trip to Spain, thanked the NPC for the award and for being open to dialogue.
"I am very grateful for this recognition, as well as for the NPC's understanding and cooperation. Together, we were able to pass a measure that is responsive but also safeguards important freedoms," said Angara.
As Chairman of the Senate Committee on Science and Technology, he pushed for the inclusion of Section 4 which states that “Personal information processed for journalistic, artistic, literary, or research purposes” is not within the scope of the measure.
In addition, he consented to the addition of Section 5 which states that no provision in the Data Privacy Act can be interpreted as to have amended Republic Act No. 53 which exempts publishers, editors or reporters of any publication from revealing their sources of information.
“We refined the measure further so that it cannot be used to curtail the flow of information that may be of public interest, without infringing on an individual’s right to privacy,” stressed Angara.
He dispelled the impression that the proposed Data Privacy Act, a bill that seeks to protect the integrity and confidentiality of personal data, will threaten the freedom of the media in the country.
“No less than our Constitution upholds press freedom and the media’s function of responsible reporting,” said Angara.
Citing the advantages of the bill, Angara explained that the measure makes it mandatory for all data collectors—whether public or private—to protect the security, integrity and confidentiality of all the personal information they collect such as medical records, insurance records, confidential correspondence and copyright protected works.
He also underscored that once signed into law, the measure will boost confidence in the both country’s booming Information Technology and Business Process Outsourcing (IT-BPO) industry and growing e-governance initiatives. (30)