There’s a new law that aims to address the proliferation of text scams in the country.
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has signed the SIM Registration Act into law today, October 10, mandating users to register with telecommunication entities before SIMs are activated.
Under the measure, all public telecommunications entities (PTE) shall require the SIM card user to present a valid identification document with a photo.
Here are the key features of Republic Act 11934 or the SIM Registration Act:
- The law requires telco companies and direct sellers to ask for a valid identification document first before selling SIM cards. Among the valid documents that may be presented include the following: passport, Philippine Identification, SSS ID, GSIS e-Card, driver’s license, NBI clearance, police clearance, PRC ID, voter’s ID, senior citizen’s card, UMID, PWD card, or other government-issued ID with photo.
- Those who already own a SIM card would be required to register with their respective telcos within 180 days from the effectivity of the law. However, the Department of Information and Communications Technology is allowed to extend the registration for a period not exceeding 120 days. Failure to register would result in deactivation of SIM cards.
- Existing postpaid subscribers are automatically registered since the telco already has the subscriber information.
- End-users who are foreign nationals are required to register their name, nationality, passport number, and address in the Philippines.
- Foreign nationals who are in the country for tourism are also required to present their passport, proof of address in the Philippines, and return ticket to their own country or any other ticket showing the date and time of their departure from the Philippines.
- The law directs telcos to disclose the full name and address of SIM card owners upon a subpoena or order of a court.
- Law enforcement agencies that conduct probes on crimes committed through phones may also request telcos to ask for details of the SIM card’s owner.
- Telecommunications entities are required to maintain a SIM card register of their subscribers. Companies must submit a verified list of their authorized dealers and agents nationwide to the National Telecommunications Commission with updates every quarter of the year.
- Those who use false or fictitious information, fictitious identities, and fraudulent documents or identifications to register a SIM card will face the penalty of imprisonment ranging from six months to two years and a fine of up to P300,000.
“Any information in the SIM card registration shall be treated as absolutely confidential unless accessed to this information as been granted with the written consent of the subscriber,” Marcos said in a speech.
Former president Rodrigo Duterte earlier vetoed the measure just before the bill lapsed into law. Duterte cited that the law would infringe on constitutionally protected rights.
The previous version included the mandatory registration of social media accounts. This provision has been taken out of the current version of the law.
This story will be updated.