Gatchalian urges Senate to approve SIM card registration bill

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian has urged the Senate to prioritize the passage of the SIM Card Registration Act after the House of Representatives approved its own version (House Bill No. 7233) earlier this week.

“The House has done its part. Now it’s up to the Senate to pass the bill and get it on the President’s desk for signature,” said Gatchalian, the author of Senate Bill No. 203 (also known as the SIM Card Registration Act).

The senator said he expects the bill to sail through the Senate, where it already enjoys strong support. As early as 2016, seven versions of the bill had already been authored by ten senators: Gatchalian, Ejercito, Gordon, Lacson, Legarda, Pacquiao, Sotto, Villanueva, Villar, and Zubiri.

The seven bills were referred to the Senate committees on public services and trade, respectively, where they remain pending up to now.

“I hope we can pass this law in time for the May 2019 elections. It will help us clamp down on voter intimidation and violence that is facilitated through the widespread availability of unregistered prepaid SIM cards,” the senator said.

Senate Bill No. 203, filed by Gatchalian on June 30, 2016, would require buyers of prepaid SIM cards to present a valid photo ID upon purchase for registration purposes.

Meanwhile, current owners of prepaid SIM cards would be required to register their mobile numbers under their name within 180 days from the law’s effective date.

Active prepaid SIM cards which are not registered within the 180-day period would be automatically scheduled for deactivation.

However, Gatchalian assured the public that their cellular information would still be kept private in accordance with the constitutional right to privacy and applicable laws.

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