Colmenares on emergency alert to remind public on SIM registration: It caused undue stress
MANILA, Philippines — Former lawmaker Neri Colmenares has questioned the use of the country’s emergency alert messaging system to remind the public about the subscriber identity module (SIM) card registration deadline, saying that it caused undue stress to many people.
Colmenares, who is currently chairperson of party-list group Bayan Muna, said in a statement on Tuesday that the SIM card registration should not be considered a disaster, as the intent of Republic Act No. 10639 or the Free Mobile Disaster Alerts Act was to inform the public about calamities.
As such, the former lawmaker — who was one of the authors of the law — said that people thought the messages about the SIM card were about a disaster.
“As author of the Disaster Alert law I found the incessant alerts on the SIM Card registration deadline alarmist causing undue stress on the public,”
“We ask government to refrain from using the Mobile Disaster Alert law for non-disaster instances and reserve it for actual disasters which the public needs to be aware of,” he added.
Colmenares also claimed that aside from the SIM card registration process being difficult for many people, it also infringes on the right to privacy of individuals.
“The purpose of the law Bayan Muna authored is to warn the public of impending storms and other disasters in order for the public to prepare for and avoid injuries. The SIM card registration is an invasion of privacy and the alert warning for this is not the disaster I envisioned when I authored the bill,” he said.
“We also ask the government to consider not only the threats to privacy of the public but also the difficulty of the people to procure government ID and have resources for online application for registration. The national ID and the SIM card registration will discriminate against those who failed to register for lack of ID or other justifiable reasons by withholding communication services to these ordinary people,” he added.
Over the weekend, several individuals brought to social media how they were surprised about emergency alerts going off due to the SIM card registration deadline, which was originally set on Thursday, April 26.
However, Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla and other government officials announced earlier that a 90-day extension for the SIM card registration period has been adopted due to low registration turnout. With reports from Maria Liezl Projella, INQUIRER.net trainee