House OKs SIM Card Registration Bill on 2nd reading

Photo courtesy of Pexels
Photo courtesy of Pexels

The House of Representatives on Wednesday, 14 September approved the proposed measure seeking the mandatory registration of subscriber identity module (SIM) cards of mobile phone users in the country on second reading.

In passing the proposed law on SIM card registration on the second reading, the House approved the recommendation of its committee on information and communications technology chaired by Navotas Rep. Tobias Tiangco to adopt House Speaker Martin Romualdez's House Bill (HB) No. 14 "without amendments" as the mother bill, in consolidation with 15 other related measures.

Romualdez's co-authors of Bill No. 14 are Representatives Ferdinand Alexander A. Marcos of Ilocos Norte, and Yedda Marie K. Romualdez and Jude Acidre, both of Tingog party-list.

Marcos and Acidre sponsored the measure aimed at preventing the proliferation of mobile phone scams and data breaches, and assist law enforcement agencies in resolving crimes involving the use of mobile phone units.

The proposed measure was passed on second reading after the motion to approve the bill was made by House Deputy Majority Leader Lorenz Defensor.

Tiangco, who is also the principal sponsor of the bill, cited data from the Statistica Research in April that states that there are now more than 157 million mobile subscribers in the Philippines, compared to 2020 when there were roughly about 145 million mobile subscribers.

He raised that more Filipinos have registered more than one SIM card under their name, hence, the increase in the number of mobile subscribers in the country.

"This may look best for competition as phone subscribers switch from one network to another just by swapping SIM cards in their phone. However, this practice also unlocks fraudulent opportunities for nefarious individuals, at least, and criminal acts for terrorists and insurgents, at worst," he said.

"It is an accepted fact that anonymity involved in prepaid SIM cards constitutes a major threat to our law enforcement. Banking and financial frauds, kidnapping, sexual exploitation of children, cyber theft, and other similar crimes have been reported but remain unsolved due to the untraceable nature of disposable prepaid SIM cards," he added.

Daily Tribune