Why Gatchalian wants mandatory SIM card registration in PH

Image by Win Gatchalian via Facebook
  • Senator Win Gatchalian wants a mandatory SIM card registration in the Philippines
  • The senator said having such mandate would help curb the increasing number of bomb threats via text messages
  • Gatchalian is the author of Senate Bill No. 203 or the SIM Card Registration Act

Why does Senator Win Gatchalian want a mandatory subscriber identity module (SIM) card registration in the Philippines?

In an article that was posted on the senator’s website, it was disclosed that he have urged President Rodrigo Duterte to certify as urgent a measure which mandates the registration of SIM cards; explaining that the policy would help curb the increasing number of text message bomb threats in recent weeks.

“Mandatory registration of prepaid mobile numbers will discourage ill-willed pranksters and allow us to punish those who currently perpetrate security scares through text message with impunity. More importantly, this measure will empower law enforcement authorities to trace and suppress legitimate terror threats during these uncertain times,” said Gatchalian, a member of the Senate Committee on National Defense and Security.

Gatchalian, the author of Senate Bill No. 203 or the “SIM Card Registration Act”, believes in the “necessity” of his bill,  “as the country remains under a State of National Emergency on account of lawless violence in the wake of the tragic Davao City bombing.” To note, since the bombing, a number of bomb scares had been sent via text message, causing commotions at several schools in densely-populated areas such as Metro Manila and Davao City.Under Senate Bill No. 203, all direct sellers of prepaid SIM cards must compel prospective buyers to present a valid photo ID before completing the sale. Meanwhile, current owners of prepaid SIM cards would be mandated to register themselves and their mobile numbers within 180 days from the effectivity of the law.

Under the bill, all direct sellers of prepaid SIM cards must compel prospective buyers to present a valid photo ID before completing the sale.

Current owners of prepaid SIM cards, on the other hand, would be mandated to register themselves and their mobile numbers within 180 days from the effectivity of the law. Existing SIM cards which are not registered within the 180-day period would be automatically scheduled for deactivation.

Personal information is safe

Meanwhile, the senator assured the public that their cellular data information will be kept confidential, in accordance with the constitutional right to privacy and applicable laws.

“The information collected under this law will be made available to pertinent government agencies only after the proper legal processes have been followed. What is important here is to have the information readily available, so that law enforcement authorities can respond to imminent security threats swiftly and effectively for the safety and benefit of the general public,” Gatchalian noted.

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