SIM REGISTRATION. National Telecommunications Commission Region 10 Director Teodoro Buenavista Jr. on Wednesday (Dec. 7, 2022) answers questions about the SIM Card Registration Act. Teodoro says users have to register their SIM cards within six months otherwise the numbers will be deactivated. (PNA photo by Nef Luczon)

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – The National Telecommunications Commission in Northern Mindanao (NTC-10) on Wednesday urged the public to register their Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards to prevent deactivation upon effectivity of the new law.

NTC-10 Director Teodoro Buenavista Jr. said users have a six-month grace period to register the cards they use on their mobile devices as prescribed under the Republic Act 11934 or the SIM Registration Act that is expected to take effect on Dec. 27.

"As one of the agencies tasked to implement its rules and guidelines, the registration will be done online. There was a mall here that has shown interest in providing us some space for the registration rollout," he said during a press briefing here.

Buenavista said users must provide valid identification cards as a requirement.

SIM cards are chips inserted into mobile devices to access services and signals for calls, short messaging, and internet data.

The services are provided either by Public Telecommunications Entities (PTEs) or commercial telecommunications companies.

Buenavista said under the law, both pre-paid and post-paid SIM cards are required to be registered.

Out of the 158.6 million active SIM cards in the Philippines, Buenavista said around 82 percent are prepaid.

"The passage of this law was mainly to prevent the proliferation of scams and spam messages. Our survey suggests six out of 10 Filipinos are in favor of SIM registration law," he explained.

Failure or refusal to register may be penalized for a minimum of PHP100,000 for the first offense, to PHP1 million maximum for the third and subsequent offense.

The law also has a safeguard provision for PTEs to uphold data privacy.

For breach of confidentiality, PTEs and their agents may be penalized for a minimum of PHP500,000 to a maximum of PHP4 million.

Providing false information, "spoofing" a registered SIM, selling stolen SIM, and transferring SIM cards without complying with the registration process can also be subjected to penalties. (PNA)