Government says to roll out SIM registration in remote areas 'soon'

Jekki Pascual, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 10 2023 06:48 PM

MANILA - The government is expected to roll out SIM registration in remote areas "in the coming weeks" as implementing agencies coordinate with telcos.

At a press briefing, Department of Information and Communication Technology Undersecretary Anna Mae Lamentillo said about 27 percent of barangays are considered Geographically-Isolated and Disadvantaged Areas (GIDA). These areas are the department's initial target for the 'Free Wifi' program and now will be the target for the SIM registration in far-flung areas.

Department of the Interior and Local Government Undersecretary Margarita Gutierrez said they need to carefully plan the rollout of the registration so as not to waste government money and resources.

"Kailangan kasi planado efforts natin dito kasi pupuntahan natin mga lugar na ito. Kailangan well-coordinated siya, well-planned siya," Gutierrez said.

"We are coordinating closely with the telcos because may ibang areas diyan na maybe marami for Smart, but hindi naman marami for Globe," she added.

The National Telecommunications Commission is also preparing for SIM registration in remote areas. 

NTC Officer-in-Charge Ella Blanca Lopez revealed they have visited an area in Masantol, Pampanga to observe and see what kind of assistance residents will need in terms of SIM registration.

"Bangka lang going there, nasa gitna siya ng palaisdaan. Ang palaisdaan is Pampanga River and Manila Bay, medyo malakas ang current. When we went there, mahina ang connectivity," said Lopez.

Lamentillo meanwhile warned the public against those who may take advantage of the registration process. 

Lamentillo added that the public must also not accept offers of SIM registration assistance from strangers online and not buy SIM cards from unauthorized sellers.

"Kapag ikaw po ay bumili ng SIM card na ninakaw, hindi lang po yung nagnakaw ng SIM card ang may kasalanan, pati ang bumili ng ninakaw na sim card," said Lamentillo.

The Cybercrime Investigation and Coordinating Center Hotline 1326 has so far received over 1,300 calls. Most of these calls are complaints about connectivity and queries on how to register.

There are 16,150,926 SIM registered so far as of January 9, 2023. That's equivalent to 9.56 percent of the active SIM users in the country. The initial deadline for SIM registration is on the last week of April.


Watch more News on iWantTFC