President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. will sign into law on Monday, October 10, the SIM Card Registration Act, which aims to promote accountability in the use of SIM cards and aid law enforcers to track perpetrators of crimes committed through phones.
Under the measure, all public telecommunications entities (PTE) or direct sellers shall require the SIM card user to present a valid identification document with a photo.
Any information in the SIM card registration shall be treated as confidential unless the subscriber authorizes access to his information.
The law also directs telco firms to disclose the full name and address contained in the SIM card registration upon a duly issued subpoena or order of a court.
Law enforcement agencies which conduct probes on purported crimes committed through phones may also submit a written request to telco firms to disclose the details of the SIM card holder.
President Marcos’ decision to approve the measure will significantly boost government initiatives against scams committed through text and online messages, which have become more prevalent this year.
Globe Telecom Inc. and Smart Communications Inc., the country’s two biggest telcos, previously expressed support for SIM card registration and vowed to assist the government in deterring crimes committed electronically.
“We believe that once signed into law, SIM registration will take us a step ahead of fraudsters and help achieve our shared goal of eradicating scam and spam messaging,” Globe Group general counsel Froilan Castelo said in a recent statement.
Smart vice president and head of regulatory affairs Roy Ibay also said his company was looking at key features of the bill ratified by the House and the Senate, and would be prepared to share his company’s “knowledge of global best practices.”
The law is the consolidation of the bills approved by the House of Representatives and the Senate.
The House version of the bill was sponsored by Speaker Martin Romualdez with presidential son Rep. Ferdinand Alexander “Sandro” Marcos and Tingog party- list Representatives Yedda Marie Romualdez and Jude Acidre as co-authors (House Bill No. 14).
In the Senate, the measure was sponsored by Sens. Juan Miguel Zubiri, Grace Poe, Win Gatchalian, Joel Villanueva, Ronald Dela Rosa, Joseph Victor Ejercito, Jinggoy Ejercito, Cynthia Villar, Nancy Binay, Christopher Lawrence Go, Francis Tolentino, Imee Marcos, Ramon Bong Revilla Jr., and Pia Cayetano (Senate Bill No. 1310).
The ceremonial signing to be held at the Ceremonial Hall in Malacañang will be attended by Speaker Romualdez, Majority Floor Leader Rep. Manuel Jose M. Dalipe, Congressmen Marcos, Romualdez, and Acidre, and Reps. Tobias Tiangco, Cheeno Miguel Almario, Roman T. Romulo, and Rex Gatchalian.
Officials from the Presidential Legislative Liaison Office headed by Mark Llandro Mendoza will also attend the ceremony.
Also present are Reginald Velasco and David Robert Amorin, Secretary General and Deputy Secretary General of the House of Representatives, respectively.
They will be accompanied by Joven Marcelang, OIC-Director of the Lower Chamber.