SIGNED. Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri and House Speaker Martin Romualdez (2nd and 3rd from left, seated) lead the ceremonial signing of the SIM Registration Act and the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections Postponement Act at Manila Golf Club in Makati City on Tuesday (Oct. 4, 2022). Lawmakers are positive that President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. will see the urgent need to sign into laws the first two enrolled bills of the 19th Congress. (Screengrab from Sen. Joel Villanueva Facebook)

MANILA - The Senate and House of Representatives on Tuesday signed the SIM (subscriber identity module) Registration Act and the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE) Postponement Act.

Copies of both bills have been sent to Malacañang for the signature of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

Senators and congressmen gathered at Manila Golf Club in Makati City for the ceremonial signing of the bills that will become the first two laws under the 19th Congress.

"Nakakabuo na tayo ng maganda at (We have created a good and) effective working relationship with the House and if our bicameral sessions for these two bills are anything to go by, then I think we can all expect to have a very active and productive 19th Congress,” Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri said during the signing ceremony.

Zubiri, who principally authored the SIM Registration Act, is confident that President Marcos will see the urgent need to sign it into law.

"We have also addressed the concerns regarding social media registration raised in the previous veto, so umaasa tayong wala ng magiging problema dito (we hope there will be no more problems),” he said.

The previous version of the bill was also approved by both Houses during the 18th Congress but was vetoed by former president Rodrigo Duterte in April.

Duterte lauded Congress’ efforts in finding ways to address the increasing incidence of cybercrimes and offenses related to information and communications technology but was constrained to disagree with the inclusion of social media in the measure, without providing proper guidelines and definitions.

“We need this law. Masyado nang laganap ’yung mga text at online scam (text and online scams are very rampant),” said Zubiri, himself a recipient of spam text messages.

The SIM Registration Act seeks to put an end to SIM-enabled text and online scams by requiring users to register their SIM cards using valid identification documents.

Matagal na nating isinusulong itong (We have been pushing for this) SIM Registration Act, at ’yung (and the) Barangay and SK Elections Postponement Act naman ay (is) very time-sensitive, so tama lang na itong dalawa ang (it is just right that these two will be the) first enrolled bills natin para sa (for) 19th Congress,” Zubiri added.

The BSKE Postponement Act seeks to defer the BSKE from Dec. 5, 2022 to the last Monday of October 2023.

House Speaker Martin Romualdez commended Zubiri, saying the House will “try to emulate the high standards that he has put there so that we could achieve great things together.”

“We look forward to more of these occasions. And again, to each and every one of you who have been a very, very important part of today’s event, maraming, maraming salamat po (thank you very much). Congratulations for a job well done,” Romualdez said.

Romualdez said they hope to have the PHP5.268-trillon national budget for 2023 signed into law by the end of the year.

“Rest assured that as we exit this pandemic, we will usher in a period of recovery and the proper utilization of our country’s resources for the recovery of the economy and of the people,” he said.

Also present during the signing were House Majority Leader and Zamboanga City Representative Manuel Jose Dalipe; Representatives Toby Tiangco (Navotas City), Marjorie Ann Teodoro (Marikina City 1st District), and Juliet Marie Ferrer (Negros Oriental 4th District); Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva, Senate Deputy Majority Leader JV Ejercito, and Senators Imee Marcos and Grace Poe.

After the signing, the bills were turned over to Secretary Mark Llandro Mendoza of the Presidential Legislative Liaison Office. (PNA)