The government has made a renewed call to Filipinos to register their subscriber identity module (SIM) cards to avoid inconvenience after President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. approved on Tuesday the extension of the SIM card registration by 90 days.
In a press briefing in Malacanang, Information and Communications Technology Secretary Ivan Uy said the President has approved during the sectoral meeting in Malacañang DICT’s recommendation to extend the SIM card registration by 90 days.
The original SIM card registration deadline was set for Wednesday, April 26.
“So within that 90-day period, we urge our kababayans to take advantage of this extension to register the SIM cards,” Uy said in his appeal to Filipinos whose SIM cards remain unregistered.
Uy reported that so far, they have about 82 million SIM cards that have already been registered, adding they anticipate that there will be probably around 15 to 20 million active SIM cards that need to be registered.
According to the DICT chief, they are expecting that the total SIM card registration will be about a hundred million and the remaining 50 million are disposable ones that are being used for different purposes, either for telemarketing or for scamming purposes.
“So with that 90 days, we believe that that will already give a lot of time to the public in order to fulfill the requirements of the law on the SIM card registration.”
He warned that after the hard deadline, those who failed to register will lose all services, the access to their SIM card, which means they cannot make a call or receive calls, as well as text messages.
Other inconveniences are losing access to their e-wallets and whatever financial services that are linked to the SIM cards, he said, urging the public to register quickly.
The DICT secretary also said they are exploring some options that will be available to incentivize the public to register.
Because people are not taking the deadlines seriously, he said they are talking to the telcos to observe the rate of registration during the 90-day period and after that, start deactivating some services on the SIM cards.
For instance, people who will fail to register within the first 30 or 60 days may lose their access to Facebook or TikTok accounts as a way of disincentivizing them, according to Uy.
“Eventually, once we reach the 90-day, you will lose completely all services to all your SIM card. So those are still being threshed out by the telcos as to which ones will be easier for them to implement and how do we schedule the gradual reduction of the services. So iyong mga matitigas ang ulo,” he said.
In a report to the President, Uy said the DICT has identified some of the areas or provinces that have low turnout of registrants, noting that in the next 90 days the agency will be concentrating on some of the country’s remote islands and far-flung communities.
The DICT will also be deploying more people and resources to those islands or areas for the SIM card registration, he added.
In addition, the telcos, including the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), and the National ID System, have been deploying their mobile units to many of the remote areas in a particular period to assist in the SIM card registration process.