DOJ okay to pre-paid SIM card registration

By , on October 7, 2014


MANILA — The Department of Justice (DOJ) is interposing no objection to several legislative measures in the House of Representatives (HOR) pertaining to registration of pre-paid Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards and insurance to mobile phones.

In a five-page legal opinion dated Sept. 11, 2014, Justice Secretary Leila M. De Lima noted the Substitute Bill to House Bill (HB) Nos. 525, 858, 1519, 2444, 2588, 2624 and 3602 entitled “SIM Card Registration Act” is a consolidation of the proposed bills whereby the provisions thereof have been deliberated during the meeting of the Technical Working Group (TWG) created for the purpose.”

The consolidated bills were authored by Reps. Rodolfo Biazon, Sergio Apostol, Marcelino Teodoro, Rufus Rodriguez, Maxmo Rodriguez, Jr., Magnolia Rosa Antonino-Nadres, Sherwin Gatchalian, Marlyn Primicias-Agabas, Joel Roy Duavit, Mariano Michael Velarde and Francis Gerald Abaya, respectively.

De Lima issued the legal opinion upon the request of the House Committee on Information and Communications Technology chaired by Rep. Joel Roy Duavit, which received the same on Sept. 29, 2014.

On HB No. 3928, or “Recording of Pre-paid SIM Card Users”, De Lima noted it seeks to require Public Telecommunications Entities (PTEs) to record the identity of buyers of prepaid SIM cards upon presentation of the latter of valid identification cards.

This HB aims to ensure that in the event of crime or for an illegal purpose, the PTE concerned shall be mandated to reveal the identity and personal circumstance pertaining to such number.

”This Department interposes no objection to this bill although the provisions thereof are already contained in the Substitute Bill on SIM Card Registration Act,” De Lima said.

She also noted HB No. 3295 seeks to regulate the disposition and sale of cellular or mobile phones and SIM cards and the requirement for PTEs to register information of users or purchasers of pre-paid SIM cards.

”This Department interposes no objection to this bill although some of the provisions thereof are already stated in the Substitute Bill on SIM Card Registration Act,” De Lima said.

However, she said, the proposed bill provides additional provisions which are not reflected in the Substitute Bill.

”This Department suggests that provisions pertaining to regulatory fees and provisions on persons liable and prohibited acts be included in the Substitute Bill on SIM Card Registration Act,” she added.

Likewise, De Lima noted HB No. 4511 seeks to require mobile cellphone network service providers to pre-install a “kill switch” software to all cellphones to enable these service providers to remotely disable these cellphones and erase data when reported stolen.

”This Department interposes no objection to the proposed bill as this is within the purview of what is embodied in Article II on Declaration of Principles and State Policies, of the 1987 Philippine Constitution, particularly Section 5 thereof, which promotes the maintenance of peace and order, the protection of life, liberty and property, and the promotion of the general welfare being essential for the enjoyment of all the people,” she said.

On the other hand, on House Resolution No. 93, De Lima said the same is directed to the National Telecommunications Commission (NT) for the latter to conduct an in-depth study as to the feasibility of the proposed scheme.

At the same time, De Lima noted HB No. 4303 seeks to require mobile service providers to offer mobile phone insurance to alleviate the costs that the consumers or end-users bear when they lose their mobile phones including tablets and ipads.

”This Department interposes no objection to the proposed bill as this bill merely provides an option for the consumers to avail of the insurance policy.

However, the DOJ manifested its reservations with regards to insurance claims process.

It noted the insurance companies may impose conditions that would prevent the consumers in making rightful claims.

”We suggest that appropriate measures be observed by both National Telecommunications Commission and Insurance Commission to ensure that objectives of this proposed bill be met,” De Lima stressed.