Register Your SIM or Risk Deactivation, Filipinos Urged

Register Your SIM or Risk Deactivation, Filipinos Urged

With Filipinos plagued daily by spam text messages, the Lower and Upper House have introduced the Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) Registration Act, which could be the first law to be signed and enacted by President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. It hopes to address mobile-related criminal activities.

The bill also seeks to deactivate the SIM cards of those who fail to register with their telcos. In an interview with The Chiefs last Wednesday, September 28, Navotas City Rep. Toby Tiangco explained that users who won’t comply within 180 days of the law’s enactment will have their SIMs deactivated by the telco. This applies to those who already have a SIM card, as well.

Both Houses ratified a consolidated version of the Senate Bill No. 1310 and House Bill No. 14 recently. Senator Grace Poe sees the former becoming a law this year.

Meanwhile, telcos are required to provide users with an online platform where they can input their SIM and other necessary information.

HB14 says that every public telecommunications entity (PTE) will be mandated to maintain a registry for all subscribers and assigned SIMs. A list of authorized sellers and agents will be transmitted to the National Telecommunications Commission.

Any offenses committed by a PTE, the concerned officers, such as the telco’s president and the like, will be fined. This can go anywhere between P300,000 for the first offense and up to P1 million on the third violation. Offenders shall be dismissed from their positions, as well.

For authorized sellers who violate the law, they will have their operations suspended. The concerned parties will need to pay a fine of P5,000 to P50,000, as well. Telcos who are liable for leaking information from the registry will also be fined, amounting to anywhere between P500,000 and P4 million.

We may recall that former President Rodrigo Duterte had vetoed the old SIM Card registration bill. At the time, the president did so because the measure included mandatory social media registration. It had been criticized by rights groups then for possible abuses like state surveillance, privacy concerns, and social exclusion.

In the new SIM card bill, journalists, whistleblowers, and the like are not exempted from the measure.


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