MANILA - The Philippines’ biggest telecommunications companies on Thursday all said they support the mandatory registration of SIMs being pushed by lawmakers.
Globe Telecom, PLDT-Smart and DITO Telecommunity said they were ready to cooperate with authorities as the Senate and the House of Representatives both passed their versions of the SIM registration bill.
“SIM Registration will serve as a major deterrent against spam and scam SMS, as it will finally lift the veil of anonymity that comes with using prepaid SIM cards,” Globe said.
The Ayala-led telco added that the status quo had allowed the prevalence of SMS-aided fraud, with perpetrators largely untraceable.
“We shall await then for the implementing rules of the law,” said Froilan Castelo, Globe Group general counsel.
PLDT said it is ready to work with the government “in protecting Filipino consumers.”
“We also welcome any opportunity to support the legislative process and contribute to the crafting of the bill's implementing rules and regulations," said PLDT-Smart president and CEOh Alfredo Panlilio.
DITO Chief Technology Officer, Retired Major General Rodolfo Santiago said the company is also ready to implement the law once it is passed.
“DITO Telecommunity, from the time of its inception has included in its system the structure for registration as part of its subscriber onboarding via the multi-purpose DITO app with subscriber data protected by strict privacy guidelines,” Santiago said.
The DITO official however said telcos also face a major challenge in validating the identity of subscribers who will register their SIMs.
“We have mentioned in previous statements that it will greatly help if both the national ID system and the passport system will be used as the validation of the identity of the subscriber. Doing so will unburden the telcos of the need to establish another database to store biometrics data, which would be time consuming and resource heavy,” Santiago said.
ICT rights and civil society organization democracy.net.ph, meanwhile warned that SIM registration may undermine online freedoms being enjoyed by Filipinos.
The group maintained that existing voluntary SIM registration for various services is enough, and the government should focus instead on improving cybersecurity around key databases.
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr is expected to sign the measure soon.
A similar measure was passed by lawmakers before but it was vetoed by then-President Rodrigo Duterte.
- With a report from Warren de Guzman, ABS-CBN News