MANILA - The House of Representatives has approved a bill mandating the registration of Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards on third and final reading.
The final vote came down to 167 voting for the bill, 6 objections and no abstentions.
The proposed SIM Card Registration Act aims to help law enforcement agencies in tracking down criminals who use mobile phones with post-paid and pre-paid SIM cards to pursue illegal activities, such as kidnapping for ransom and petty crimes like theft.
The bill mandates the sale and registration of SIM cards by directing every Public Telecommunication Entity (PTE) or direct seller to require the end-user of a SIM card to present valid identification with photo to ascertain the latter’s identity.
The measure also mandates all existing mobile phone subscribers with prepaid SIM cards to register with their respective PTE. Failure to register within the prescribed period shall authorize the PTE to automatically deactivate its services to the concerned prepaid SIM card subscriber.
All direct sellers will be mandated to register in the SIM card registration form the following information: full name, date of birth, gender and address of the end-user appearing in a valid government-issued identification document with photo.
The bill also requires end-users who are foreign nationals to register their full name, passport number, and address in the SIM card registration form.
It requires the PTE to submit to the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) a verified list of their current authorized dealers/agents nationwide, within 30 days after the effectivity of the law.
Violators from PTE will be asked to pay a fine of at least P300,000 for the first offense; P500,000 for the second offense; and P1 million for the third and subsequent offenses.
If the offense is committed by a direct seller, he or she will be forbidden to sell sim cards and will be asked to pay a fine of P5,000 to P50,000.