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What you need to know about the SIM Card Registration Act

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To recap, President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. signed the SIM Card Registration Act that aims to intensify government efforts against text scams.
File photo: SIM card

SIM card registration was officially a law on Monday, the SIM card registration law formally was signed after it was vetoed by former President Rodrigo Duterte.

According to a report by GMA News Online, the law seeks to end crimes using the platform including text and online scams by regulating the sale and the use of SIMs by mandating registration to end-users.

With the signing of the SIM card registration law, these are what subscribers and public telecommunications entities (PTE) should keep in mind.

Responsibilities of subscribers

  • Existing prepaid SIM card users have 180 days or six months from the time the law takes effect to register their phone numbers with their respective PTEs, according to CNN Philippines.

Another 120 days can be given upon a valid written request to the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT).

Failure to comply will lead to the SIM card’s deactivation.

Manila Bulletin listed what users will be asked to provide when registering:

  • Full name
  • Complete address
  • Date of birth
  • Sex
  • Cellphone number and serial number of the SIM card

NOTE: Users must submit a copy of their valid government ID with a photo. It can be any of the following:

  • Driver’s license
  • National ID
  • SSS/GSIS card
  • UMID ID
  • Passport
  • Senior citizen’s ID
  • NBI clearance
  • Police clearance
  • Firearms license
  • Voter’s ID
  • TIN ID
  • PRC ID
  • IBP ID
  • OWWA ID
  • PWD ID
  • Government office ID
  • School ID (for students)

Postpaid subscribers are also covered by the law. Their data submitted to the telco companies upon their subscription will be the ones to be included in the system.

Responsibilities of telcos

  • PTEs, or the telcos, are given 30 days to submit a list of authorized sellers or dealers to the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) which should be updated quarterly.

  • PTEs should also maintain a SIM Card Register of their subscribers that contains their information.

Who can access subscribers' data?

The law has provisions on confidentiality and data privacy, but information can be released:

  • Upon subpoena or order from a court
  • Upon a written request from a law enforcement agency investigating the possible involvement of a mobile number in a malicious, fraudulent, or unlawful act.

Are foreign nationals covered?

Foreign nationals visiting as tourists for not more than 30 days are also covered by the law. They usually use SIM cards valid for 30 days.

They are required to provide the following:

  • Full name
  • Nationality
  • Passport number
  • Address in the Philippines

They are also required to present any of these:

  • Return ticket or departure ticket
  • Passport
  • Proof of address in the Philippines
  • Alien Employment Permit
  • Alien Certificate of Registration ID
  • School registration ID (for students)

Can I buy/register more than one SIM card under my name?

DICT Secretary Ivan Uy said a person can own more than one SIM card as long as it is properly registered.

What are the penalties?

  • PHP 100,000 to PHP 1 million for PTEs who fail or refuse to register a SIM without a valid reason.
  • PHP 500,000 to PHP 4 million for breach of confidentiality
  • Six months to two years imprisonment and a PHP 300,000 fine for providing false information, fraudulent identification of documents, and selling of stolen SIM.

Marcos signs the law

With the signing of this Act we will finally achieve what has long been overdue, an effective means of regulating the issuance of SIM cards to curb the spread of spam text messages and scams, Marcos said.

Do you agree with the president?

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