Last Tuesday, September 20, the House of Representatives approved House Bill 14, or the SIM Card Registration Bill, on the third and final reading.
The bill passed after it got 250 yes votes, six no votes, and one abstention.
As a lot of you already know, SIM Card Registration wants to regulate the sale of SIM cards in the Philippines. Plus, promote user accountability, assist government agencies and law enforcement in resolving crimes, and more significantly, help end text scams and data breaches that have been rampant recently.
The bill will also create a system for the sale and registration of SIM cards. Buyers will have to sign a registration form stating their name, birth date, gender, and address. To validate their identity, they must present an original copy of a valid ID. This process will be done by telcos and direct sellers.
To ensure the user’s data is safe, the bill is in compliance with the Republic Act 10173 or the Data Privacy Act 2021. This means that telcos and direct sellers are prohibited from disclosing any data or information of the subscribers and should be treated as confidential.
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As for existing subscribers, the bill would still ask them to register their current SIM card. If not, their telcos are authorized to automatically deactivate their service.
If becomes a law, telcos who will violate provisions will be fined Php300,000 for the first offense, Php500,000 for the second one, and Php1 million for the third and subsequent offenses.
Direct sellers who will violate will then face a fine of Php5,000 to Php50,000 and suspension of their operation.