SIM listup extended 90 days

PBBM orders DICT to prevent Pinoys from losing telco services

EXTEND THE DEADLINE. President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. directs the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) to start a 90-day extension period for SIM registration after the initial April 26, 2023 deadline during a Cabinet cluster meeting at Malacanang on Tuesday. PCO Photo

The government has extended for 90 days the April 26 deadline for the registration of subscriber identity module (SIM) cards, Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla said on Tuesday.

Remulla, who attended a Cabinet cluster meeting at Malacanang on Tuesday, said the government found the extension necessary as “most of the services that come with the cell phones that are not registered will be cut off with the telcos.”

Mandatory SIM registration is provided for under Republic Act no. 11934, the SIM Registration Act.

RA 11934 provides that public telecommunications entities (PTEs) should set up their respective registration platforms for users who present valid identification cards.

Data from the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) showed that as of April 23, only 82,845,397 SIMs have been registered. These registered SIMs represent only 49.31 percent of more than 168 million all over the country.

Of the 82 million registered SIMs, more than 37 million are Globe subscribers, more than 39 million are Smart subscribers and over 5 million are Dito subscribers.

SIM holders were originally given until April 26 to register or face the risk of deactivation.

“Most of the services that come with the cell phones that are not registered will be cut off with the telcos,” Remulla said.

The SIM Registration Act signed by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. took effect last December.

The President has tasked the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) to make a public announcement on the extension.

“DICT is targeting to register 70 percent of active SIMs within the 90-day extension and reports to the President that more Filipinos will enjoy social, digital and financial inclusion upon SIM registration,” the department said.

The DICT said subscribers who fail to register their SIM cards might encounter a “gradual loss of phone services.”

“We are exploring some options that will be available to us [to] incentivize the public to register,” said DICT Secretary Ivan Uy.

“We did not put those conditions in the first SIM card registration but because of our observation that people are not taking our deadline seriously, we are now exploring other options to incentivize registration,” he added.

“We will observe the rate of registration and after a certain period, we’re seeing maybe 30 days or 60 days into registration, we will start deactivating some services on the SIM card,” Uy said.

“Let’s say after 60 days, you will lose your access to your Facebook accounts or your TikTok accounts. You can still use your phone, you can still call, you can still text and then after a certain period, you will lose your outgoing calls so that way, you can feel the effects if you fail to register,” Uy said.

The Supreme Court, meanwhile, has ordered several government agencies and private telecommunications companies to answer a petition challenging the constitutionality of RA 11934.

The respondents include the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), the National Privacy Commission, the DICT, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), and Department of Education (DepEd).

The SC also directed Globe Telecom, Inc., Smart Communications, Inc., Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT), Dito Telecommunity Corp., Digitel Mobile Philippines, Inc., Sun Cellular and Cherry Mobile Communications, Inc., to file their comment on the petition.

The petitioners in the case were the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, journalist Ronalyn V. Olea, Lumad leader and former Bayan Muna Party List representative Eufemia C. Cullamat, Bayan Secretary-General Renato Reyes Jr., Llorre Benedicto Pasco, Dean Matthias Razi Timtiman Alea, Maded Batara III of Junk SIM Registration Network, fisherfolk leader Alberto Roldan of PAMALAKAYA, peasant leader Danilo Hernandez Ramos of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, and lawyer Michael Christopher de Castro.

The petition invoked freedom of speech, rights against unreasonable searches and seizures, and privacy of communication in seeking to declare RA 11934 unconstitutional.

“Given the nature of cell phones and devices connected to the internet, the SIM Registration Act partakes in the nature of prior restraint. On its face, the law chills all speech done through SIM if disclosure is not made,” they also said.

“By imposing a condition to speech expressed through the modern-day equivalent of the printing press, the SIM Registration Act imposes prior restraint,” they added.

They also told the SC that the deactivation of unregistered SIMs will affect the government dissemination of public service announcements and that ordinary citizens will not be able to capture, share, and discuss the misbehavior of their public servants, which is vital in a democratic country.

Also, they said that Filipinos with unregistered SIMS will be deprived of essential online services such as digital banking, online shopping, and transportation to courier services.

SIM REGISTRATION QUEUE. Residents queue to register their SIM cards at the Quezon City Hall, while representatives of telecommunication companies man help desks to provide assistance. The government today announced that the deadline for SIM card registration has been extended. Manny Palmero

“Unregistered Filipinos will not be able to use internet services, websites, and social media platforms that require phone numbers as a mode of receiving one-time passwords (OTPs) to secure or recover user accounts,” the petitioners said.

Globe and TM subscribers may now register their SIMs on the GCash app.

“Globe and TM customers who are GCash users will receive a prompt to register their SIMs and they just need to follow the instructions. Once successful they will get free 1GB of data which they can use right away,” Globe said.

By registering their SIMs, customers will avoid SIM deactivation and have uninterrupted access to their e-wallet accounts.

Customers who fail to register their SIMs that are linked to their accounts can still access their funds by requesting a transfer to a new registered mobile number from the GCash Help Center. The process, however, will take several days.

“That’s why we encourage SIM users with GCash wallets to register their SIMs before the deadline to avoid this inconvenience. We remind our customers to register their SIMs only with the GCash app or through the official portals of their respective telco providers,” Martha Sazon, GCash president and chief executive said.

GCash said it will never ask its customers to share their OTP, MPIN, or other sensitive information.

Senator Grace Poe said the extension of the registration deadline was a welcome development.

Senator Aquilino Pimentel III, on the other hand, said the extension should be the last.

Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Raymund Villafuerte on Tuesday welcomed the extension of the deadline as well.

Villafuerte, president of the National Unity Party, said the government has prudently avoided shutting out from digital and financial inclusion the legions of Filipinos who legitimately own possibly most of the 100 million-plus still unregistered SIMs.

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.

Credit belongs to :

Check Also

House to pass 2024 budget bill next week — Romualdez

THE House of Representatives will approve the proposed P5.768-trillion 2024 national budget on third and …