MANILA — The Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT) on Tuesday said it is expecting some 20 million additional registered SIM cards after the government extended the registration period for another 90 days.
As of Sunday, more than 82 million out of the 168 million active SIM cards nationwide have already been registered, DICT Secretary Ivan John Uy said.
“We anticipate that there are probably around 15 to 18 or 20 million that needs to be registered that are active,” Uy told reporters in Malacañang Tuesday afternoon.
“We are anticipating that total SIM card registration to be about 100 million more or less, and the remaining 50 million are the ones that are disposable, the ones that are being used for telemarketing, for scamming purposes," he added.
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. earlier approved the DICT recommendation to extend the SIM card registration period, as 20 million unregistered SIMs was "still a significant number," Uy said.
"We discovered that some of the low turnouts were in the island provinces, like Dinagat, Siquijor, and Camiguin islands, Tawi-Tawi, Basilan. So when it was presented, the President noticed that we need to put in more effort to deploy teams to these island provinces to address the low turnout."
Uy also reminded the public that the 90-day extension is the last chance to register all active SIM cards, and those who remain unregistered after the extended period may see their SIM cards deactivated.
This, even as the SIM Card Registration Act allows for a maximum extension of 120 days.
"We all had an extensive deliberation on that, and we feel that 90 days is more than reasonable enough time for everybody to register,” Uy said.
“For the remaining 30 days, we are exploring other possibilities on what to do with that. We might allow that after 90 days all SIM cards will be deactivated, but perhaps they might do some catch-up registration even after their SIM cards have already been deactivated,” he continued.
“But that has not been decided. For now, 90 days is the hard deadline, and whether you like it or not we are going to deactivate after the 90-day period.”
For the meantime, Uy said the DICT is looking for ways to compel individuals to register their SIM cards, including gradually deactivating some services of unregistered ones.
“Let’s say after 60 days, you will lose access to your Facebook accounts or your Tiktok accounts. But you can still use your phones, you can still call, you can still text, then after a certain time, you will lose your outgoing calls,” he said.
“So that way ramdam n'yo kung anong effect na hindi kayo nagpaparehistro. So eventually once we reach the 90 day period, you will lose completely (access) to all your SIM cards.”
(So that way, you can feel the consequences and effects of not registering.)
Meanwhile, Uy also told the public to expect a possible increase of text scam following the extension announcement.
“Unfortunately, with this announcement of the 90-day extension, expect text scams will increase again because we’ve given them a 90-day window to continue with their nefarious activities,” he said.
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