MANILA – President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. is expected to sign into law the Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) Card Registration Act on Monday.
Once signed, this will be the first law to be signed since Marcos assumed office on June 30.
The signing of the measure aims to boost government initiatives against scams committed through text and online messages.
Under this measure, all public telecommunications entities (PTEs) or direct sellers will require the SIM card user to present a valid identification document with a photo.
Information in the SIM card registration will be treated as confidential unless the subscriber authorizes access to his information.
The proposed measure also directs telco firms to disclose the full name and address contained in the SIM card registration upon a duly issued subpoena or order of a court.
Law enforcement agencies that investigate purported crimes committed through phones may also submit a written request to telco firms to disclose the details of the SIM card holder.
The measure is the consolidation of the bills approved by the House of Representatives and the Senate.
The House version of the bill, House Bill No. 14, was sponsored by Speaker Martin Romualdez with presidential son Rep. Ferdinand Alexander "Sandro" Marcos and Tingog party-list Representatives Yedda Marie Romualdez and Jude Acidre as co-authors.
Meanwhile, the Senate version of the bill, Senate Bill No. 1310, was sponsored by Senators Juan Miguel Zubiri, Grace Poe, Win Gatchalian, Joel Villanueva, Ronald Dela Rosa, Joseph Victor Ejercito, Jinggoy Ejercito, Cynthia Villar, Nancy Binay, Christopher Lawrence Go, Francis Tolentino, Imee Marcos, Ramon Bong Revilla, Jr., and Pia Cayetano.
The ceremonial signing to be held at the Ceremonial Hall in Malacañang will be attended by lawmakers from both the House and Senate.
Globe Telecom Inc. and Smart Communications Inc., the country’s two biggest telcos, previously expressed support for SIM card registration and vowed to assist the government in deterring crimes committed electronically.
In a statement, Globe Group general counsel Froilan Castelo said the SIM registration law will take telcos “a step ahead of fraudsters and help achieve our shared goal of eradicating scam and spam messaging.”
Smart vice president and head of regulatory affairs Roy Ibay, meanwhile, said his company was prepared to share its “knowledge of global best practices.”
On Oct. 4, Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin said there is a "very distinct" possibility for Marcos to sign legislative measures that are awaiting his signature, including the bills on SIM registration and postponement of the 2022 barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections.
Former President Rodrigo Duterte vetoed the SIM Card Registration Act in April this year due to mandatory social media registration. (PNA)