MANILA — The House Committee on Information and Communications Technology has approved for plenary debate a proposed measure that would require the registration of pre-paid Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards to help law enforcement agencies in their campaign against criminality.
House Bill 5231, which substituted House Bills 525, 858, 1519, 2444, 2588, 2624, 3295, 3602 and 3928, establishes a system of sale and registration of SIM card for pre-paid users by registering pertinent data in a registration form.
Under the bill, to be known as the “Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) Card Registration Act,” every direct seller shall require the end user of a SIM card to present valid identification with photo to ascertain the latter’s identiy.
The direct seller shall also require the end user to accomplish and sign a control-numbered registration form issued by the respective Public Telecommunications Entity (PTE) of the SIM card being purchased.
The registration form shall include an attestation by the end user that the person personally appearing before the direct seller and the identification documents presented are true and correct and that the person is one and the same who has accomplished and signed the registration form.
An end user who does not produce valid identification with photo and who fails to accomplish a registration form shall be refused sale of a SIM card by the direct seller.
“The registration of pre-paid SIM cards would put a stop to the brazen theft of mobile phone units which have become an indispensable communication tool to everyone,” according to Rep. Rodolfo G. Biazon (Lone District, Muntinlupa City), author of HB 525.
Rep. Sergio A. F. Apostol (2nd District, Leyte), author of HB 858, said the registration of SIM cards would reduce kidnapping and other petty crimes.
Rep. Marcelino R. Teodoro (1st District, Marikina City), author of HB 1519, said one of the key provisions of the measure is authorizing the PTEs to automatically deactivate the services of unregistered existing pre-paid SIM card subscriber.
A fine of P 300,000 should be imposed for the first time if the offense is committed by a PTE, P 500,000 for the second offense and for the third and subsequent offenses, a fine of P 1,000,000 for every offense.
Further, the bill imposes a penalty of suspension of its operation on any direct seller who fails to comply with the provisions of this Act and a fine ranging from P 5,000 to P 50,000.
The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) is mandated to promulgate the rules and regulations necessary to ensure the effective implementation of this Act.
Other authors of the bill approved by the committee chaired by Rep. Joel Roy Duavit (1st District, Rizal) are Reps. Rufus Rodriguez (2nd District, Cagayan de Oro City), Maximo Rodriguez, Jr. (Party-list, Abante Mindanao), Magnolia Rose Antonino-Nadres (4th District, Nueva Ecija), Sherwin Gatchalian (1st District, Valenzuela City), Marlyn Primicias-Agabas (6th District, Pangasinan) and Winston Castelo (2nd District, Quezon City).