A BILL requiring the registration of all mobile phone subscriber identity module (SIM) cards to help address the proliferation of scams and criminal activities has been filed at the House of Representatives.
“This bill seeks to require ownership registration of SIM cards to eradicate mobile phone-aided criminal activities,” Leyte Rep. Martin G. Romualdez, who is expected to become the next House speaker, said in House Bill 14.
“Having an unregulated SIM card market has also given way to several mobile phone scams,” the lawmaker said. Cases ranged from simple text messages asking users to send cellular loads, to voice phishing methods and spams attempting to gain unauthorized access to sensitive personal information.
A 2020 World Bank report showed that for every 100 Filipinos, there are 137 cellular phone subscriptions, indicating that some individuals owned more than one card.
Cellular phone service providers have had to block millions of text messages and SIM cards due to complaints from subscribers, he added. Even then, perpetrators easily replace said SIM cards and continue with their scheme.
“Due to the lack of SIM card registration, it becomes nearly impossible to trace the persons behind the text scams and hold them accountable for fraud, breach of data privacy or other punishable offenses that they committed using an unknown mobile number,” Mr. Romualdez said.
Counterpart bills were filed in the Senate last week.
The proposed measure had passed the last Congress but was vetoed by President Rodrigo R. Duterte, citing the inclusion of a provision that also requires the registration of social media accounts. — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan