SEVERAL senators have refiled the SIM Card Registration Act previously vetoed by former President Rodrigo R. Duterte due to its social media provision, which he said “needs a more thorough study.”
Senator Mary Grace S. Poe-Llamanzares, the primary sponsor of the bill in the last Congress, refiled the bicameral copy of the bill ahead of the 19th Congress’ opening on June 25.
She said the passage of the bill into law is necessary to stop fraud perpetrated using mobile phones and the internet, which has victimized millions of Filipinos.
“We must not turn a blind eye to the untold misery of millions of our people who are further mired in debts and sunk in poverty after falling prey to these unceasing text scams,” the senator said in a statement on Wednesday.
The proposed measure would require the registration of SIM cards prior to their activation in the Philippines, which has more than 120 million mobile subscribers. It would also require social media users to register their legal identities and phone numbers when creating new accounts.
Ms. Poe said she is open to discussing with her colleagues in the new Congress the provision on social media account registration, noting that it can be incorporated in the bill or as a subject of another legislation.
Senator Juan Miguel F. Zubiri, the presumptive Senate President, on the other hand, told reporters in a Viber message that the bill he filed will be without the social media provision.
In vetoing the bill, Mr. Duterte’s spokesperson then cited the potential for “dangerous state intrusion and surveillance threatening many constitutionally protected rights.” — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan