It’s all systems go for the implementation of Republic Act No. 11934, or the SIM Registration Law, starting 27 December 2022, as public telecommunications entities (PTEs) have already set-up their respective online platforms and are ready to accept registrations.
In a joint press conference on Monday, December 26, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), the Department of Justice (DOJ), and the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), together with representatives of telecommunications companies, updated the public on the implementation of the SIM Registration Law.
DICT Spokesperson and Undersecretary Anna Mae Y. Lamentillo urged every SIM subscriber or end-user to register their SIMs with their respective PTEs, adding that such registration shall be at no cost to the end-users.
“DICT Secretary Ivan John Uy hopes that the SIM registration process can be accomplished within 180 days. Thus, we encourage subscribers to register early. The first two weeks will be a test registration, which means that registrations are valid but there could be some difficulties and minor errors as the PTEs fine tune the implementation process,” she said.
The DICT official advised those who experience difficulties, glitches, or technical issues to immediately report to the telcos or relevant government agencies to be addressed accordingly.
“We would also like to remind everyone to be mindful of fake websites, phishing, and other scams that may take advantage of people trying to register their SIMs. Please always check the source of the information before following instructions especially if it comes through email or text messages. For registering, it is strongly recommended that people visit the official websites of their providers directly,” Lamentillo said.
The DICT Undersecretary explained that all SIM registration will be done online, through the platform that will be provided by the PTEs. To facilitate registration with limited telecommunication or internet access, the DICT and NTC will work with other agencies, local government units, and concerned PTEs to establish registration facilities in such areas.
DILG Undersecretary Margarita N. Gutierrez, representing DILG Secretary Benhur Abalos, said that they welcome the implementation of the law and will provide the needed support to ensure the immediate completion of the registration process.
“Nakahanda ang ating Kagawaran na alalayan ang lokal na pamahalaan ano man ang kanilang kailanganin upang maipaabot ang proseso ng pagrerehistro sa mga malalayo at liblib na lugar. Buo rin ang dedikasyon ng DILG mula Central hanggang sa mga Field Offices, kasama na ang Philippine National Police at iba pang law enforcement agencies, upang maibigay ang tulong at suportang kakailanganin ng DICT, NTC, at iba pang ahensiya mula una hanggang sa pinakahuling araw ng registration,” Gutierrez said.
For his part, Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin “Boying” C. Remulla expressed the DOJ’s support for the full implementation of law.
“We are fully cognizant that no matter how beneficial and vital the role of information and communications technology (ICT) is in nation-building, its illegal or malicious use endangers people’s lives, damages property, poses hazards to public order, and even threatens the security of nations,” said Remulla.
He explained that the SIM Registration Act will address one of the common challenges in the investigation and prosecution of cybercrime and cyber-related cases. It will also be an added tool for law enforcement agencies in enforcing laws against trafficking in persons (TIP) and online sexual abuse and exploitation of children (OSAEC).
The DOJ Secretary also reminded the public to not be afraid of the SIM Registration Act. “This will not be used for state surveillance, red tagging or any such nefarious purpose. The collection of data by the telcos will be under stringent regulatory oversight and monitoring of concerned government agencies so the public can be assured that their data and information will be safeguarded.”
Under the law, those who are required to register are all SIM subscribers, whether postpaid or prepaid, including embedded SIMs or eSIMs and other variations that are provisioned by any PTE to provide text messages, calls, and/or data services; as well as SIMs intended for data-only or used for fixed wireless broadband modem and/or wireless local loop, machine-to-machine (M2M) service, and/or Internet of Things (IoT).
SIM registration will only be done through a subscriber’s telco provider, who will provide the procedures and guidelines for their registration processes.
Failure to register will result in the deactivation of the SIM. Meanwhile, all new SIMs to be sold or issued by the PTEs and their authorized agents and resellers will be in a deactivated state until such time that the end-user completes the registration process.
According to the DICT, the SIM Registration Law aims to protect citizens from fraudulent acts perpetrated through phone calls and text messages. But in order to experience the effect and protection of the law, everyone must cooperate in the registration of their SIMs.