Farmers, fishers distraught as SC rejects TRO on SIM registration
MANILA, Philippines — Farmers and fisherfolk are disappointed that the SC denied their request for a temporary restraining order (TRO) against RA 11934 or SIM Registration Act, as the law proves disadvantageous for those in remote areas with poor network signals like farmers and fishers – according to the Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya).
“Dismayado kami sa tila niratsadang desisyon ng Korte Suprema laban sa aming petisyon para pansamantalang ipatigil ang implementasyon ng SIM Card Mandatory Registration Act. Siniyasat man lamang kayang mabuti ng mga mahistrado ang aming batayan ng pagtutol sa kontrobersyal na batas?” said Bobby Roldan, vice chair for Luzon of Pamalakaya and one of the petitioners seeking to declare the SIM Registration Act as unconstitutional.
(We are dismayed by the seemingly rushed decision of the Supreme Court against our petition to temporarily stop the implementation of the SIM Card Mandatory Registration Act. Did the justices thoroughly examine our grounds for opposing the controversial law?)
“Mas malaking hamon pa ang kinakaharap ng mga mangingisda at magsasaka na karamihan ay naninirahan sa malalayong lugar na bukod sa mahina ang signal, ay karaniwang walang kakayahan para magkaroon ng mga kinakailangang teknolohiya para makapagprehistro,” said Roldan.
(Fisherfolk and farmers, who mostly live in remote areas with weak signal reception, face an even bigger challenge as they usually lack the necessary technology to register.)
On Tuesday, the SC rejected the petitioners’ prayer to stop implementing the SIM Registration Act.
Instead, the SC asked government agencies and public telecommunication entities to comment on the petition seeking to declare the new law unconstitutional. The government agencies and public telco firms were given 10 days to file their comments.
Also on Wednesday, another petitioner, the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), asserted anew that SIM registration is an invasion of privacy as the imposition of restrictions on unregistered subscribers means clipping people’s right to free speech and freedom of expression.
“We reiterate our view that the mandatory registration of SIM cards, and the subsequent restriction of access to social media and other apps, will take away the people’s right to data privacy as it also will restrict and trample on the people’s right to free speech and freedom of expression,” it said in a separate statement.
The farmers’ organization likewise said the government’s 90-day extension of the SIM registration is not enough as they pressed for the total revocation of the SIM Registration Act.
It hoped that the SC’s denial of TRO would “not hinder the High Court’s thorough review of the petition filed by various organizations regarding RA 11934 or the SIM Card Registration Act.”
“Nananawagan kaming muling pag-aralan at suriing mabuti ang aming petisyon na naglalaman ng mga konkretong batayan ng mga apektadong sektor tulad ng mangingisda, magsasaka, at mamamahayag,” Pamalakaya’s Roldan said, echoing the KMP’s call.
(We call for a careful reexamination and thorough review of our petition, which contains concrete bases from affected sectors such as fishers, farmers, and journalists.)