A ranking congressman is prodding local government units (LGUs) to set up Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) registration areas in places with there is limited Internet access.
Camarines Sur 2nd district Rep. LRay Villafuerte made the call in the interest of improving the public's compliance with the mandatory registration of SIM cards under Republic Act (RA) No. 11394, or the SIM Registration Act.
“We are glad that following the initial hitches that marred the Dec. 27 kick-off by the PTEs (public telecommunications entities) of the SIM registration process as set by law, the sign-up has lately been proceeding rather smoothly, with the number of registrants exceeding 21 million as of last count,” said Villafuerte, majority leader of the powerful Commission on Appointments (CA).
“However, this number of registrants is just over 12 percent of the projected 168 million SIM cards in the country, so unless the registration process is switched to overdrive from hereon, the PTEs along with the DICT (Department of Information and Communications Technology) and NTC (National Telecommunications Commission) might not have enough time to complete the registration process on or before the deadline set by the SIM Registration Act,” he noted.
“One way to accelerate the registration process is for local executives to help the PTEs, DITC, NTC and other concerned sectors establish off-site centers where people can sign up, especially in places with limited Internet or telecommunication access,” Villafuerte, also a former Camarines Sur governor, added.
Villafuerte is among the lead authors of RA No.11394, which aims to put an end to smartphone or mobile gadget-based scams.
“It will be easier for the authorities or PTEs to trace persons behind text scams and hold them accountable for breach of privacy along with phone-based fraud and other punishable offenses they are able to perpetrate by using unknown or unregistered mobile phone numbers,” the solon pointed out.
Aa such, he said there's a need for all concerned government agencies, PTEs, and LGUs "to act together in informing the public about how the SIM Registration Act could put an end to text spam, online scams, bank fraud, identity theft and other cybercrimes, how they could sign up, and how their SIM numbers would automatically be deactivated—rendering their celfones inutile—should they fail to register before the deadline set by law".
For Villafuerte, “It’s time for our local executives to play an active part in ensuring the success of the SIM registration process in the same way that local governments have had a lead role in the Covid-19 vaccination rollout in their respective localities.”
The former House deputy speaker made the appeal after the government opened its first offsite registration center in Masantol, Pampanga.