By Glen S. Ramos
MANILA – Congress has already approved on third and final reading the measure requiring the registration of Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards.
With 181 affirmative votes, six negative votes, and no abstention, the chamber passed House Bill No. 5793 or the “SIM Card Registration Act”, which aims to help law enforcement agencies in tracking down lawless criminals who use mobile phones with postpaid and prepaid SIM cards to pursue nefarious activities, such as kidnapping for ransom and petty crimes like theft.
Under the bill, every public telecommunication entity (PTE) or direct seller shall require the end-user of a SIM card to present valid identification with a photo to ascertain the latter’s identity.
The end-user shall be required to accomplish and sign a control-numbered registration form issued by the PTE or direct seller.
It mandates all PTEs to maintain a SIM card register of their subscribers and submit the same to the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) every six months.
It provides for a confidentiality clause that prohibits disclosure of any information of a subscriber, unless upon subpoena or lawful order from a competent court or written request from law enforcement agency in relation to an ongoing investigation, that a particular number requested is used in the commission of a crime.
It also mandates the registration of existing prepaid SIM card phone subscribers.
The bill also states that failure to comply with this provision with the prescribed period shall lead to automatic deactivation of services. (ai/mtvn)