Press Release
September 5, 2022

Poe eyes SIM Card Registration bill approval in November

Sen. Grace Poe stressed the need to work double time in having a SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) Registration law to curb text scams that still run rampant and have become more advanced in intruding into personal data.

Poe, chairperson of the Senate committee on public services, will lead fresh discussions on several bills on Wednesday to have a common measure for approval in November.

"Ang SIM Card Registration bill ay kasama sa prayoridad ng Senado na maipasa," Poe said in a radio interview Monday.

"Nag-hearing na kami d'yan noon, marami na kaming nakalap na impormasyon at kaisipan tungkol dyan. Kung matatapos natin ang hearing sa Wednesday, technical working group na lang sa susunod na linggo, tapos baka pwede na natin ma-plenaryo. Hopefully, ito ay mapasa by November. Ito ang nakikita nating timeline kasi hihintayin pa rin natin ang bersyon ng House," she added.

Poe highlighted that various schemes are being used via text messages to dupe people into sending money or making available their private information.

Aside from the spam texts marketing various products, Poe said she also received messages and calls from persons pretending to be people in government and asking financial support.

"May isang tumawag sa akin sa isang app, sinasabi na siya raw yung ambassador. Iyong profile nya na lumabas sa app, iyon nga 'yung ambassador na 'yun, kaya lang hindi naman sya 'yun," Poe said.

"Wala nga sa kamalayan natin 'yan, 'yung sinasabi nilang mirroring, pero nangyari sa atin," she added.

Poe said the mounting complaints of text scams will be tackled in the committee hearing.

Concerned agencies and stakeholders will be called such as the National Privacy Commission, the Department of Information and Communications Technology and telecommunications firms. The Department of Trade and Industry will also be invited to explain the proliferation of text blasters and other gadgets in the market being used in the fraudulent activities.

Poe has refiled her own SIM Card Registration bill which will be among the measures for discussion in the hearing.

Under her bill, the country's telecommunications companies will be the gatekeeper of the information obtained in the registration process. These data must not be divulged except in compliance with laws obligating such need in accordance with the Data Privacy Act, upon court order or with the written consent of the subscriber.

Any breach of confidentiality will be meted with imprisonment or penalties from P300,000 to P1 million.

"All mobile phone users have in one way or the other become victims of scam texts. Stopping fraudsters is a battle we have to urgently wage together," Poe said.

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