MANILA, PHILIPPINES – Philippine telecom operators have welcomed the passage of a resolution requiring the registration of mobile phone SIM cards, emphasizing their willingness to implement it whenever approved by President Rodrigo Duterte.
Smart Communications, Globe Telecom, and new entrant DITO Telecommunity all expressed support for the proposed legislation in separate comments.
The bill, which is now waiting for Duterte’s approval, will mandate all social media platforms to collect users’ true identities and phone numbers when they create accounts, principally to combat telecom fraud.
Smart Communications vice president for regulatory affairs Roy Ibay said, “We welcome this development from Congress. We have always maintained our stance that the SIM card registration bill will help quash the proliferation of fraudulent spam messages, smishing cases and fraud, and will boost telecom security efforts to keep subscribers safe.”
“It will also spur e-commerce adoption and growth,” Ibay added.
Globe Telecom also backed the measure.
“This is part of our commitment to support the government in its fight against fraud, terrorism and other crimes. It also paves the way for greater digital and financial inclusion,” the Ayala-led telco said.
Furthermore, the bicameral conference committee report on the proposed SIM Card Registration Act was approved by the Senate and House of Representatives on Wednesday.
The bill requires all public telecommunications organizations (PTEs) to require SIM card registration before selling or activating them.
The measure also mandates that all social media platforms need users to disclose their true name and phone number when creating an account.
All existing SIM card users with active services must register within 180 days of the proposed law taking effect.
Ibay stated that there should be protections in place to ensure that prepaid users are not displaced unnecessarily by providing a substantial SIM registration period and ensuring that widespread adoption or use of the national ID is already in place.
“We are also ready to support and aid in the development of the IRR to ensure the bill’s effective administration, while safeguarding privacy and information security,” Ibay said.
Globe added, “We are looking forward to threshing out critical issues surrounding its implementation, including addressing challenges on the timetable for registration of tens of millions of SIM cards currently in use.”
Meanwhile, during a virtual meeting on Thursday, DITO Telecommunity chief technology officer Rodolfo Santiago stated that his organization had already considered mandatory SIM card registration while developing its IT strategy.
“We will have no major challenge in terms of implementing whatever the objective of the law. Basically, we will just await it to be passed,” Santiago said.