The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) should drum up executive support for a bill requiring the registration of prepaid subscriber identity module (SIM) cards, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said.
"We're calling on DICT Secretary Rodolfo Salalima to push for the approval of this proposal," said Gatchalian, chairman of the Senate Committee on Economic Affairs.
Gatchalian is the author of Senate Bill No. 203, or the "SIM Card Registration Act," which will require buyers of prepaid SIM cards to first present a valid photo ID.
Old SIM cards should be registered within 180 days from the effectivity of the proposed measure.
"I remember that during his confirmation hearings, Secretary Salalima assured members of the Commission on Appointments that he would support this bill. Tingnan natin ang magiging aksyon niya," Gatchalian said.
Prior to his appointment to the DICT, Salalima served as chief legal counsel and senior vice-president for corporate and regulatory affairs of Globe Telecom.
He also worked as vice-president and head of legal and human relations at the International Communications Corp., later renamed as Bayantel.
Gatchalian expressed hope that Salalima would exercise his duties as DICT secretary despite his industry ties.
The senator recalled that as Globe's legal counsel, Salalima objected to the mandatory registration of prepaid SIM cards and cited how this would greatly reduce the sales of prepaid SIM cards and affect the income of telcos.
Due to intense lobbying by telco players against the bill's approval, lawmakers have experience difficulty in marshaling majority support for the proposed measure's enactment into law.
"Telecom industry players have been the biggest stumbling block to the approval of this proposed scheme. With Secretary Salalima now at the helm of the DICT, I hope he would succeed where legislators have so far failed to change the minds of telecoms honchos and make them agree with the proposal," Gatchalian said.