Bill requiring registration of prepaid SIM cards clears house body
MANILA, Philippines—A bill mandating the registration of prepaid mobile phone SIM cards, or Subscriber Identity Module cards, will be up for debate on the plenary floor after its approval at the committee level in the House of Representatives.
The House information and communications technology committee has consolidated nine versions of the proposed “SIM Card Registration Act,” which regulates the sale and registration of prepaid SIM cards nationwide, in a bid to reduce criminality.
Under House Bill 5231, every direct seller of SIM cards shall require the buyer to present valid identification cards or documents with photo, and to accomplish and sign a control-numbered registration form.
A buyer who cannot produce valid identification with photo and who fails to accomplish a registration form shall be refused sale of a SIM card by the direct seller.
“The registration of prepaid SIM cards would put a stop to the brazen theft of mobile phone units which have become an indispensable communication tool to everyone,” said Muntinlupa Representative Rodolfo G. Biazon, one of the proponents.
Leyte Representative Sergio A. F. Apostol said the registration of SIM cards would also help reduce kidnapping and other crimes committed using prepaid mobile phones.
A key provision of the measure is authorizing telecommunication firms to automatically deactivate the services of unregistered existing pre-paid SIM card subscribers, said another author, Marikina Representative Marcelino Teodoro.
Telecom firms, which are referred to in the bill as “Public Telecommunication Entities,” may face fines ranging from P300,000 to P1 million for violations.
Direct sellers who fail to comply will also face suspension on top of a fine ranging from P5,000 to P50,000.
The National Telecommunications Commission is mandated to promulgate the rules and regulations for the implementation of the proposed law.
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