THE House committee on information and communications technology for the passage of a bill mandating the registration of SIM cards to make phone users more responsible.
Valenzuela Rep. Wes Gatchalian, the author of House Bill 2648, pressed for the bill’s passage after several schools and establishments in Metro Manila received bomb threats following the recent Davao City bombing.
He said that the bill should be deliberated upon as soon as possible.
In a letter dated Sep. 8, 2016, Gatchalian asked Rep. Victor Yap, the committee chairman, to review the proposals regulating the issuance of SIM cards.
“With progress in technology, we have made leaps and bounds in our ability to communicate, so much so that it has outpaced the laws,” Gatchalian said.
The lawmaker explained that scams and various acts of terrorism are just several examples of how the unregulated sale of prepaid SIM cards contribute to criminal activities aided by the anonimity of prepaid phone cards.
He said the bill, if passed into law, will require all network telecommunications to maintain the registration of all users, including prepaid users.
The bill will also require users to present valid identification cards before he or she can purchase SIM cards.
The bill, however, will only go as far as identifying the owner of the number and not the full content of communication which is deemed private.
Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate however opposed the registration of SIM cards saying it will burden subscribers and infringe on the privacy of users.
“Mandatory registration for prepaid mobile phone subscribers is not the answer to terrorism, crime, or the impunity that persists in our country. Contrarily, we at Bayan Muna see the great risk of misuse of registered user’s personal information and exchanges as being proposed today by some legislators,” Zarate said in a statement.
Other countries including Singapore already passed laws requiring the registration of SIM cards.
“There is no cogent reason why some should not be applied to prepaid users in our country,” Gatchalian said.
In the Philippines, at least 97 percent of 100 million active users are using prepaid SIM cards.