Press Release
February 2, 2022

Senate ratifies bicam report on SIM card registration bill

The bill that would curb fraud and other crimes aided by subscriber identity module (SIM) cards is now closer to becoming a law.

The Senate ratified Wednesday, February 2, the bicameral conference committee report on the disagreeing provisions of Senate Bill No. 2395 and House Bill No. 5793, or the proposed SIM Card Registration Act.

Sen. Grace Poe, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Public Services who led the upper chamber's contingent to the bicam, said the conferees were able to reconcile several conflicting provisions of the two legislative proposals.

"The bicameral conference committee agreed to use the House version as the working draft but made use of a lot of the Senate provisions," Poe reported to her colleagues during Wednesday's hybrid plenary session.

Among the agreements settled by the bicameral panel, according to Poe, is to mandate all public telecommunications entities (PTEs) to require the registration of SIM cards as a prerequisite to their sale and activation.

Similarly, all social media networks must also require the real name and phone number of users upon creation of account, the bicam report stated.

All existing SIM card subscribers with active services shall register within 180 days from the effectivity of the proposed law. PTEs will be authorized to deactivate SIM card numbers that have not been registered within the prescribed period.

Poe said that lawmakers have clarified that the sale of SIM cards to foreign nationals shall be allowed, provided that they comply with certain requirements, such as the presentation of their passport and proof of address in the Philippines, among others.

Data collected from registration shall be forwarded and kept by the concerned PTE

to a centralized database, which shall strictly serve as a register for the processing, activation or deactivation of subscription, and shall not be used for any other purpose.

"Whatever information obtained in the registration process cannot be disclosed to any person except in compliance with any law authorizing disclosure, such as in the case of the Data Privacy Act; or in compliance with a court order or any other legal process; or with the written consent of the subscriber. No waiver of absolute confidentiality is allowed," Poe assured.

She said the bicameral conference committee likewise added an important provision mandating PTEs and social media providers to keep relevant data and information for 10 years from the time the end-user deactivates his or her mobile number or social media account.

"We hope that by legislating this measure, we would be able to eradicate mobile phone, internet or electronic communication-aided criminal activities. This has been a long time coming but I hope that the passage of this bill will result in a safer and more secure mobile-use and cyberspace here in our country," Poe said.

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