Solons want mandatory listing of SIM cards

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — The House is seeking the mandatory registration of prepaid SIM cards to the National Telecommunications Commission as part of efforts to stop or solve crimes.

Muntinlupa City Rep. Rozzano Rufino Biazon made the proposal in House Bill 92, saying that although cellular phones have become indispensable communication tools, they also serve as tools of crime for unscrupulous individuals.

“Even syndicates engaged in illegal drugs, smuggling, extortion, kidnapping and other heinous crimes, and lately even groups seeking to sow panic, have been using cell phones to further their end,” Biazon said.

Biazon says he hopes to address the issue by requiring the identification and registration of prepaid SIM card subscribers and their mobile phone units to identify the users and stop them from using their units for criminal purposes. SIM stands for subscriber identification module, which serves as a memory card.

In filing the bill, the Muntinlupa City lawmaker requires all Public Telecommunication Entities (or telecommunications providers) to ensure that the users/purchasers of prepaid SIM cards and their phone units are properly identified complete with verified addresses.

In cases wherein the sale is done through agents, the latter would be required to submit to the PTEs verified names and addresses of buyers of prepaid SIM cards and cellular phones within a period of time.

“All existing prepaid subscribers of any cellular phone company in the Philippines are required to register their units, the serial number of their phones, to the respective PTE servicing them within three months from the date of effectivity of this act,” he said.

The PTEs, on the other hand, will be directed to keep an updated data base listings or record of all their subscribers containing the respective data gathered from the prepaid phone unit buyers and submit the same to the NTC.

“Thereafter, the PTEs shall submit to the NTC a quarterly update of their listings,” he said.

If a subscriber fails to register his prepaid SIM card and phone unit and serial number, the NTC shall have his/her cell phone unit deactivated.

PTEs that fail to do their job of listing the SIM card owners shall be ordered to pay a fine of P300,000 for first offense; P500,000 for the second offense; and P1 million for third and subsequent offense.