Congress OKs mandatory registration of SIM cards, social media accounts

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 03 2022 10:03 PM

MANILA- Congress has approved the proposed SIM Card Registration Act, which includes the mandatory registration of social media accounts.

Both the Senate and the House ratified the bicameral conference committee report consolidating House Bill No. 5793 and Senate Bill No. 2395.

Section 2 of the approved bill states that: "The State shall require the registration of SIM Cards for electronic devices and social media accounts by all users."

"Thus there is a need to promote accountability in the use of SIM card and social media and shall provide law enforcement agencies the tools to resolve crimes which involve its utilization and the platform to deter the commission of wrong doings," it added. 

Section 4 of the approved bill on SIM card and social media accounts registration states that public telecommunications entities shall require the registration of SIM cards as prerequisite to sale and activation.

This is to prevent the following: 

  • internet or electronic communication-aided crimes like terrorism
  • text scams
  • unsolicited, indecent or obscene messages
  • bank fraud
  • libel
  • anonymous online defamation
  • trolling
  • hate speech
  • spread of digital disinformation or fake news as defined under pertinent laws

The same section noted that similarly, all social media account providers shall require real-name and phone number upon creation of account.

It also stated that all existing SIM card subscribers with active services shall register with their respective PTEs within 180 days from the effectivity of the law. 

Failure to register within the prescribed period shall authorize the PTEs to automatically deactivate or retire the SIM card number and registration, according to the law.

In a press release, one of the members of the bicameral panel, Deputy Speaker Wes Gatchalian, lauded the passage of the measure.

"Indeed, we are grateful for the avowed support of the present leadership in fulfilling its legislative mandate to ratify this landmark measure, knowing the timely and vital role of information and modern communications technology at this time”, he said.

Gatchalian on Wednesday also lauded the timely ratification of the bill which is now awaiting President Rodrigo Duterte’s signature.

Gatchalian explained that the bill also makes it the responsibility of the SIM card owner to report its loss or of any change in the information after registration.

“We change SIM cards as fast as we change our soiled shirts. Alarmingly, this seeming boundless stream of supply has become a magnet for nefarious and illegal activities," the lawmaker said.

"By requiring the registration of SIM cards, we promote accountability in its use and provide law enforcement agencies the tool to resolve crimes which involve its utilization.” 

RELATED VIDEO

Watch more News on iWantTFC

Gatchalian said that all data gathered shall be subject to the Data Privacy Act of 2012, making any breach or unauthorized disclosure of information punishable under the bill with a maximum fine of up to P1 million.

Sellers who fail to register sim cards face a fine of P10,000 while public telecommunications entities face a maximum fine of up to P1 million.