The House of Representatives has approved on second reading House Bill 7233 which seeks to require the registration of all users of SIM (subscriber identity module) cards.
The proposed “SIM Card Registration Act” aims to help law enforcement agencies in tracking down lawless criminals who use mobile phones with post-paid and pre-paid SIM cards to pursue nefarious activities such as kidnapping for ransom and petty crimes like theft.
The bill mandates the registration of SIM cards by directing every telco or direct seller to require the end-user of a SIM card to present valid identification with photo to ascertain the latter’s identity.
The telco or direct seller shall also require the SIM card end-user to accomplish and sign a controlled-number registration form issued by the respective telco of the SIM card purchased.
All direct sellers are mandated to register the SIM card registration form with the following information: full name, date of birth, gender and address of the end-user appearing in a valid government-issued identification document with photo.
The bill also requires end-users who are foreign nationals to register their full name, passport number, and address in the SIM card registration form.
It also requires the telco to submit to the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) a verified list of their current authorized dealers/agents nationwide, within 30 days after the effectivity of the proposed law.
All telcos are required to maintain a SIM card registry of their subscribers and submit this to the DICT every six months. Likewise, they are required to keep the data of their subscribers, and the DICT shall ensure that this data is kept with utmost confidentiality.
The measure mandates all existing mobile phone subscribers with prepaid SIM cards to register with their respective telcos. Failure to register within the prescribed period shall authorize the telco to automatically deactivate its services to the concerned prepaid SIM card subscriber.
The bill imposes penalties for any violation of the law. If the offense is committed by a PTE, the president and other executive officers shall be held liable and shall be punished with a fine of P300,000 for the first offense; P500,000 for the second offense; and P1 million for the third and subsequent offenses.
If the offense is committed by a direct seller, the penalty of suspension of its operation and a fine of P5,000 to P50,000 shall be imposed.