Extend SIM card registration for 1–2 months, Villafuerte advises
MANILA, Philippines — The deadline for the registration of subscriber identity module (SIM) cards should be extended for one or two months given that less than half of users have registered, Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Raymund “LRay” Villafuerte said on Thursday.
Villafuerte in a statement referred to the recent Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) admission that only 36.79 percent of SIM cards sold have been registered as of April 7.
According to the lawmaker, both DICT and the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) must start considering an extension, given that only two weeks remain before the April 26 deadline set by Republic Act No. 11934.
“It is time for the DICT and NTC to seriously consider extending the registration period for, say, a month or two, as less than 40% of the nearly 168 million SIM numbers believed in the possession of subscribers have been reported to PTEs (public telecommunications entities) with less than two weeks to go before the April 26 deadline set by law,” he said.
Villafuerte also noted that according to the NTC website, only around 66.21 million SIM cards had been registered as of April 11 — a measly 39.41 percent of 168.9 million SIM cards in use nationwide.
This means that in five days, or from April 7 to 11, the number of registered SIM cards only jumped by around four million or 800,000 per day. If such a number is sustained until April 26, only 12 million more SIM cards, or just around 85 million cards, would be registered.
The law needs to be implemented, Villafuerte said. To curb cybercrime, it’s even more important to cover all SIM card users by putting measures where scam messages and phishing attempts can be traced.
“A highly successful registration of SIMs is much desired, as such will make it easier for the authorities or PTEs to trace persons behind text scams and hold them accountable for breach of privacy along with [cell phone]-based fraud and other punishable offenses they have been able to perpetrate by using unknown or unregistered [mobile phone] numbers,” Villafuerte said.
“The DICT and NTC need to work in tandem with the PTEs in going full-blast on their nationwide registration drives in the remaining days before the deadline in a last-ditch joint effort to prod the owners of more than 100 million SIM cards that have yet to be recorded in the system to do so before the April 26 limit,” he added.
Aside from the slow pace of registrations, the SIM card registration program also encountered problems from the beginning, as phone users encountered several bugs and errors on the telecommunication companies’ websites. This has led lawmakers to suggest registration per batch, adding that local governments must also provide registration avenues for people in areas with poor signal strength.