MANILA (4th UPDATE) — President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. has approved the 90-day extension of SIM registration, information from state-run broadcaster Radio Television Malacañang (RTVM) showed on Tuesday.
Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla earlier in the day confirmed the extension of the SIM registration.
"President Marcos Jr. approves the 90-day extension of SIM registration after the 26 April 2023 deadline. Failure to register within the given period of extension will result to limited SIM services from the telecommunication companies," the RTVM said in a Facebook post regarding the President's sectoral meeting in Malacañang.
"He issues a directive to the [Department of Information and Communications Technology] to make a public announcement on this matter," the state broadcaster said.
Information from RTVM added that DICT seeks the registration of at least 70 percent of active SIMs during the 90-day extension period.
Remulla said telco services would be limited for those who failed to register. Telcos meanwhile have yet to issue a statement regarding the extension as of this posting.
“There’s a 90-day extension. But most of the services that come with the cellphones that are not registered will be cut off with the telcos. So there will be a social media unavailability for those who do not register in the next 90 days,” Remulla said.
This means, the official said, there will be restricted access in social media or other aspects online to those who were not able to register earlier.
“So that’s the good news, 90 days extension and to those phones or SIM that are not registered, there will be elimination as to the access,” he added.
During a Palace briefing, Department of Information and Communications Technology Secretary Ivan Uy said the 90-day extension would suffice for the registration of the remaining active SIMs in the country. At least 20 million more are expected to register during the extension period, he said.
He said the regulators and telcos are threshing out details of the planned "incentives" for those who failed to register. The DICT said telcos may cut access to social media such as TikTok and Facebook in the next few weeks, leading to the 90-day "hard deadline." Exact date and the exact service to be crossed out are still being deliberated, Uy said.
In a statement, Smart said it welcomes the extension. However, the proposed gradual deactivation may be difficult to implement given the limited allotted time, it added.
"We welcome the 90 days extension which gives our subscribers more time to register + more time for us and the government to campaign for SIM registration. But as to the gradual deactivation which they're still evaluating - discussions with the DICT, NTC are still ongoing but it would really be difficult for us to implement due to time constraints," said PLDT & Smart FVP and Corporate Communications Group Head Cathy Yang.
Globe also welcomed the extension, as it appealed to its subscribers to register their SIMs before the new deadline.
"The government has given SIM users a full three months more to register their SIMs. We would like to appeal to our customers to register their SIMs as soon as they can. If you are having a hard time registering your SIMs, you can go to our Globe Stores and EasyHubs and we will provide the necessary assistance," said Darius Delgado, Head of Globe’s Consumer Mobile Business.
DITO have yet to issue statements. Globe subsidiary GCash meanwhile announced that SIM registration can now be done through its app.
Sen. Grace Poe, meanwhile, the chairperson of the Senate Committee on Public Services, said the extension was "most welcome" but likewise urged telcos to "mobilize and go down to the grassroots to reach out to more of their subscribers."
"SIM Registration was... not meant to punish legitimate SIM subscribers especially those in remote areas... As most telcos have been enjoying vast profits from their services, they have the corresponding obligation and the necessary resources to track down their SIM users and to widen the opportunity for registration," Poe said.
The SIM Registration Act mandates that all SIMs in the country be registered by Wednesday, April 26, to help eradicate SMS-linked scams. However, the country's major telcos lamented the low registration turnout and have requested an extension, citing the lack of valid IDs and digital literacy as obstacles.
DITO Telecommunity, Globe Telecom and Smart Communications have lobbied for the extension of the deadline to accommodate all their subscribers who have yet to complete the requirements in order to register their SIMs.
Based on the latest data from the National Telecommunications Commissions, 82.8 million SIMS have been registered as of April 23 out of over 168 million active SIMs. This means only 49.3 percent of active SIMs have been registered since the measure was implemented in late December 2022.
The DICT is expecting some 20 million more SIM cards will be registered following the government’s decision to extend the SIM registration period.
Telco subscribers may register their SIMs here:
Smart - smart.com.ph/simreg or simreg.smart.com.ph
Globe - new.globe.com.ph/simreg
DITO - https://digital.dito.ph/pto/download/app
- with reports from Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News