Rep. Tulfo: Expedite rollout of national ID to fight SIM registration woes
MANILA, Philippines — The government should fast track the National Identification Card system as it can be a good deterrent to the proliferation of fake users of registered subscriber identity module (SIM) cards, ACT-CIS Rep. Erwin Tulfo said on Thursday.
In a statement, Tulfo said that the full implementation of Republic Act No. 11055 or the Philippine Identification System Act will help address issues surrounding the SIM Registration Act, as the database could be used by the government to countercheck people who register their SIM cards.
“The issuance of national ID cards to Filipino citizens and resident aliens, as mandated by law, will give the service providers an easy access to government database for the truthful profile of bona fide holders who apply for SIM registration,” Tulfo explained.
“We support the call of my fellow legislators for telcos to take stringent measures in registering SIMs and help the law enforcers in running after online fraudsters, but I also appeal for the speedy implementation of RA 11055, because, in my view, the use of national IDs instills confidence in our pursuit of foolproof SIM registration,” he added.
Tulfo said this as concerns were raised about the government’s SIM card registration process — including fears that security measures placed may not be enough to block fake applications.
Just this Tuesday, NBI Cybercrime Division Chief Attorney Jeremy Lotoc told a Senate panel that they tried to register SIM cards from different telecommunication companies (telcos) using the face of an animal — in this case, a monkey.
Lotoc said they were successful — proving that fraudsters can still register fake personalities for their SIM caards despite the law.
This led to Senator Grace Poe, chairperson of the Senate committee on public services, suggesting that a live selfie or photograph be taken as a requirement before SIM cards are registered.
Tulfo believes though that a single ID system where the identity of people are ascertained would be key to strengthening the SIM card registration.
“A single ID system, encompassing all Filipinos, is the key to ensuring the integrity of the SIM registration,” Tulfo said.
“In conclusion, the call to fast-track the implementation of the national ID system, as advocated by Globe, does not only offer a far-reaching impact on various aspects of daily life, from simplifying bureaucratic procedures to enhancing national security efforts, but also serves as a valuable tool in the fight against cybercrimes by curbing the spread of fake SIM identities,” he added.
R.A. No. 11055 was enacted last July 2017, but implementation has bogged down for several reasons. Last May, Senate Minority Leader Koko Pimentel has asked the legislative chamber to investigate the delays in the issuance of National IDs, saying that the quality of the cards are also in question.
On Wednesday, Department of Information and Communications Technology Secretary Ivan John Uy admitted that even President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is growing impatient at the continuing delays in the National ID system.