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Let telecoms and DICT drive information on SIM card registration: solon

The information campaign regarding Republic Act 11934, also known as the Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) Registration Act, is the responsibility of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and the telecommunications companies (telcos), not the local government units, according to a lawmaker on Tuesday.

After the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) requested that LGUs conduct an information-dissemination campaign for the registration of SIM cards, Leyte Representative Richard Gomez made the comment.

Gomez reminded the DILG that the DICT is the main force behind the execution of RA 11934.

The DICT and the telecommunications providers are in charge of carrying out the registration of SIM cards, including educating the general public about the WHYs and the DOs. Why should the LGUs, who already have a lot on their plates, be responsible for informing the public about the benefits and drawbacks of the proposed policies and the registration procedures? Gomez enquired.

Additionally, he said that since telcos are the ones receiving hundreds of millions of pesos daily from mobile phone customers, they shouldn’t burden local government units (LGUs).

They’re a lot wealthier than other LGUs. Since their profits are entirely theirs to preserve and enjoy, they should take care of their own affairs and difficulties, according to Gomez.

In addition to the ongoing threat of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), the onslaught of natural disasters like typhoons and earthquakes, and the implementation of local peace and order policies as the nation celebrates the holidays with a less stringent mobility policy, he claimed that LGUs already have a lot on their plates.

He claimed that telecommunications companies could easily use their distributors and thousands of retail locations to register their SIM cards.

“Ating mga LGUs are engaged in trabaho that is inaasikaso. The constituents of the kanilang mga pangangailangan are pangunahin at the moment. The registration of SIM cards is a job for both the DICT and the carriers. The LGUs are already overworked. Hayaan na po nating sila ang gumawa ng kanilang trabaho. Prioritizing their constituents’ needs should come first. The DICT and the telcos are responsible for SIM card registration. (Let them carry out their duties.)”

The first piece of legislation approved by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., RA 11934, requires all end users to register their SIM cards with their respective telecommunications networks prior to activation in order to regulate SIM registration and use.

In a statement released on Monday, DILG Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. urged LGUs to take the lead in educating the people about the demands and significance of the law and called for a vigorous information campaign to be conducted at the local level.

Abalos added, “As we work to protect public safety even in the online sphere, I encourage LGUs to use all efforts to promote (the) responsible use of SIM cards, educate their stakeholders on the advantages of required SIM card registration, and assist them throughout the registration process.

He claimed that the SIM Registration Act would help the Philippine National Police and other law enforcement agencies stop the rise of criminal activities in the Philippines that are made possible by electronic communication, including mobile phishing, spam text messages, online scams, bank frauds, and identity theft.

According to Abalos, the law’s implementation will not only force accountability from all parties, including mobile users, telcos, the government, and authorities, but it will also make it easier for the PNP to find criminals who commit crimes while remaining anonymous by using electronic devices.

The DILG, along with other governmental organizations like the DICT, NTC, Department of Education, and telecom companies, shall “facilitate all SIM registrations in remote areas with limited telecommunication or Internet access,” according to Section 4 of the law’s implementing rules and regulations (IRR) made public by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC).

In order to expedite the construction of registration facilities in physically remote locations, which must be completed within 60 days of December 27, DILG will work with DICT and the NCT in conjunction with local government units (LGUs).

In rural locations, he asked barangay leaders and local chief executives (LCEs) for help processing the necessary paperwork and other criteria to set up the registration centers.

He continued, “Let us reach out to them and notify them about this new law because we know not everyone has access to the Internet and other forms of communication.”

All current SIM users who wish to register must do so within 180 days via a database platform or website made available by the telecom.

The registration time may be extended by the DICT for an additional 120 days. The SIM card will be deactivated if a subscriber doesn’t register.

For individuals, businesses, and other juridical entities, the subscriber must provide their full name, nationality, birthday, passport, proof of Philippine address, and return ticket to their home country. For businesses and other juridical entities, the subscriber must provide their full name, business name, and full name of authorized signatory (for foreigners and tourists).

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