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Philippines digitizes booking of criminal suspects, mulls biometric border checks

Philippines digitizes booking of criminal suspects, mulls biometric border checks

The Philippines National Police (PNP) has launched a digitized booking system for arrested persons which requires the collection of their biometrics as part of government efforts to improve efficiency and assist criminal investigations.

According to the Philippine News Agency (PNA), the digitized booking process will allow police officers to collect the fingerprint biometrics of arrested persons and cross-match them in a faster and more convenient way using the Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS). The facial image of the arrested person will also be required.

National police boss Gen. Rodolfo Azurin Jr. said with the fully digitized system, investigators and intelligence agents would be able to have access to the data storage system of arrested suspected offenders anywhere in the country.

Speaking on the novelties of the system during its launch recently, the police boss says, as cited by PNA: “For many years, the PNP had been manually collecting information of arrested persons, but because of this initiative to deliver efficient and timely investigation service, the DIDM (Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management (DIDM) created this system that will fully digitalize the booking process of arrested persons.”

Azurin explains that the new system will “will further increase the crime solution efficiency of the Philippine National Police.”

“When they lift fingerprints from the crime scene, immediately they will compare it with the database of the AFIS. The (PNP) Forensic Group said in one minute, it can easily determine whose fingerprint was obtained at the crime scene. This is how effective the system is,” PNA further quotes him as saying.

Azurin mentions that the collaboration of the Department of Justice (DoJ) was vital in the setting up of the digital booking system.

The PNP is also expanding the availability of its clearance services used in background checks for job applications and various transactions.

Call for biometric border control system

In the meantime, the vice chairperson of the committee on good government and public accountability of the Philippines House of representatives has called for necessary budgetary considerations for a biometric border security system that would keep proper check on foreigners passing in and out of the country.

In a statement quoted by Manila Standard, Johnny Pimentel told the DoJ to come up with a plan that would allow the Bureau of Immigration to better control the country’s borders using biometrics technology.

According to the lawmaker, biometrics will not only enhance border security, it will also quicken immigration checks and make them more convenient.

The MP wants to see the plan taken into account in the 2024 national budget which will be submitted to parliament for scrutiny in August.

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