Today, October 10, 2022, President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. signed the Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) Registration Act into law amid the rise of spam and scam SMS, the majority of which contain the entire names of unwary Filipinos.
This was the first bill that Marcos approved during his six-year administration which is the consolidated version of the 19th Congress.
Marcos signed the measure at Malacanang’s Ceremonial Hall. Several legislators, including House Speaker Martin Romualdez, the president’s cousin, attended the formal signing according to Philippine Star report.
To recap, former president Rodrigo Duterte vetoed the initial bill enacted by the 18th Congress last April because it included a need for social media registration, where users must use their true identities. A “more complete analysis” is required, according to Duterte, due to concerns about individual privacy and free speech.
However, now that it has officially become a law, all new prepaid SIM users must register with TelCo providers within 6 months (180 days). The activation of the SIM will be void if no registration happened.
The registration will be conducted online with the TelCo providers (Globe,Smart,TNT, Dito). That said, users must provide their name, birthday, sex, address, and they should upload a scanned copy of their government ID to prove that they are the ones applying.
Meanwhile, for those without internet connection, TelCo companies will produce registration booths or facilities in the remote areas with poor internet reception.
How about the million users who are already using prepaid SIMs? The same instances will be applied. They also have 6 months (180 days) to register their SIMs. Failure to do so will result in their SIM deactivation by the TelCo provider.
There’s no limit on how many SIM you can have as long as you register it to the corresponding TelCo provider in the given time.
According to the World Bank, data shows that in 1995; there are 34,600 Number of Cellphone Subscribers; 12.15M in 2001; 94.18M in 2001; and 149M in 2020. While in fact, we only have a current 110 million population.
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For visiting foreigners, the SIM registration will only be effective for a month (30 days), afterward, they must register again. That said, they must provide their name, nationality, passpport number, and departure details.
The law’s rationale are: to stop malicious text messages, curb use of phones for crimes, promote responsible phone use and enable law enforcers.
Refences: Philippine Star, News5