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House Passes Mandatory Prepaid SIM Registration Bill

House Passes Mandatory Prepaid SIM Registration Bill

The House of Representatives has passed a proposed measure requiring the registration of all prepaid SIM cards amid rising cases of spam messages and online scams.

In session last Monday afternoon, Dec. 6, Congress decided to approve on third and final reading House Bill No. 5793, the proposed Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) Card Registration Act, that would help authorities run after people using mobile phones in their fraudulent online activities.

A total of 181 representatives voted to pass the measure while six voted against the bill, which seeks the establishment of a system of sale and registration of the SIM card for all users by registering pertinent data in a registration form set up for the phones.

HB 5793 mandates all public telecommunications entities (PTE) to require the end user of the SIM card to present a valid ID with photo to ascertain identity. The PTE or the direct seller shall further require the end user to accomplish and sign a control-numbered registration form issued by the respective PTE of the sim card purchased.

The bill proposes the registration of specific information of the SIM card user – full name, date of birth, gender and address appearing in a valid government ID with photo to be presented upon registration.

Under the confidentiality clause, any information in the SIM card shall be treated as “absolutely confidential,” unless access to information has been granted upon written consent of the subscriber.

The proponent of the bill, Deputy Speaker for Trade and Industry and Valenzuela City Rep. Wes Gatchalian, cited the need for the measure to curb illegal activities such as text scams and fraudulent orders in food delivery services.

“We change SIM cards as fast as we change our soiled shirts. Alarmingly, this seeming boundless stream of supply has become a magnet for nefarious and illegal activities,” Gatchalian said.

“Out of the 152.4 million mobile subscribers in the country today, only three percent of which are registered postpaid users, meaning 97 percent or over 147 million mobile subscribers utilize unregistered prepaid numbers.

This untraceable platform opens up greater prospects for small-time opportunists and organized criminal syndicates to create fake names and hide behind the anonymity that a prepaid mobile number can give, to become brazen in defrauding our citizens of their hard-earned money.

There is obviously a flaw in the system that we can remedy by this legislation,” the House leader pointed out.