By Ellson Quismorio
Ranking House members have renewed their call for owners of mobile phones to have their SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) cards registered.
Camiguin Rep. Xavier Jesus Romualdo and Quezon City 2nd district Rep. Winston both recognized that compulsory SIM card registration would be a big deterrent to crime.
“I’ve always voted in favor of the SIM card registration bill. I believe it would be a very helpful tool against criminality,” said Romualdo, chairman of the House Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability.
He was referring to House Bill (HB) 7233, or the proposed Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) Card Registration Act.
“Time to prevent a catastrophe using cellphone to detonate a bomb,” Castelo said, alluding to the deadly twin explosions that rocked Mt. Carmel Cathedral in Jolo, Sulu, in late January. The explosions, which were reportedly triggered by a mobile phone, killed at least 20 people.
“There should also be accountability in the use of cellphones. It’s a major step in deterring crime – cyber or otherwise,” noted Castelo, chairman of the House Committee on Metro Manila Development.
Earlier this month, the Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, Director General Oscar Albayalde, backed proposals to have phone users register their SIM card details to discourage trolling and bullying on social media.
Romualdo, meanwhile, believes that the time is ripe for a SIM card registration law because the Philippines already has a national ID system in the pipeline.
“One of the constant objections or criticisms being raised against SIM card registration is that it wouldn’t be effective in the country anyway because Filipinos have a variety of IDs that are relatively easy to procure and that we should first have a national ID system just like other countries that have SIM card registration,” he said.
“Well, we now have the Philippine ID System that will be rolled out soon and, once we have the PhilSys in place, there should be no reason why we can’t have SIM card registration too,” he added.
President Duterte signed the law establishing the Philippine Identification System on August 5 last year.