• Sotto sees passage of bill on SIM registration

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    SENATE Majority Leader Vicente Sotto 3rd sees the passage of a measure that seeks the mandatory registration of pre-paid SIM cards to prevent cellphone-aided crimes despite the strong lobbying of telecommunications companies.

    The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) first attempted to implement the mandatory registration of subscriber identification module or SIM cards in 2000 but the program was questioned in court.

    “I filed a new bill this 17th Congress and I think there is a big chance that it will be passed because senators see the need for it,” Sotto said.

    Under Sotto’s bill, the NTC, in close coordination with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and telecommunication companies, shall formulate the necessary guidelines in the proper implementation of the pre-paid SIM card registration process.

    The bill also seeks to mandate all mobile phone service providers to require ownership registration as prerequisite to selling pre-paid SIM cards.

    Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian also filed a similar bill following the deadly Davao City bombing.

    “Mandatory registration of prepaid mobile numbers will discourage ill-willed pranksters and allow us to punish those who perpetrate security scares through text message with impunity,” he said.

    Gatchalian gave assurances that information on cellphone owners will be kept confidential.

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