Press Release
September 28, 2022

Sen. Grace Poe's Speech Transcript
Bicameral Conference Committee Report Ratification
Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) Registration Act
Sept. 28, 2022

Mr. President, as chairperson of the Senate contingent to the Bicameral Conference Committee on the disagreeing provisions of Senate Bill No. 1310 and House Bill No. 14 known as the Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) Registration Act, I now have the privilege to report to the body the approved version of our bill.

There were several conflicting provisions between the two bills but through the common vision and efforts of our colleagues, Senator Ejercito, vice-chair of the Senate committee on public services, Senators Binay, Gatchalian,and Minority Leader Senator Pimentel, we were able to reconcile these differences.

In the interest of time, I would like to move that the Joint Explanation of the Bicameral Conference Committee on the Disagreeing Provisions of Senate Bill No. 1310 and House Bill No. 14 be spread into the records. Instead, I shall provide the highlights of the Report.

The Bicameral Conference Committee agreed to use the Senate version as the working draft but with numerous reconciled provisions.

Mr. President, among the agreements settled by the Panel are the following:

First, both Houses agree that it's time to drop the term "card" from the bill. Innovation on mobile technology is fast-paced and our law must be able to accommodate all present and future variations of SIMs.

Second, we adopted the Senate framework on registration, which goes directly through the PTE's platform as a pre-requisite to the activation of a SIM. Not only does this pose less risk of data breach, it also places less burden on small-scale resellers who may not have the proper training to handle personal information.

The registration process remained mostly faithful to the Senate version, specifically on the 180-day period of registration of a SIM by a minor through a parent or guardian, and all the safeguards on the SIM register.

Third, the few modifications made are all improvements like specifying a non-exhaustive list of identification cards with photo that can be presented during registration. This is part of our commitment to make the registration process as clearly outlined and as seamless as possible. Further, we clarified the documentary requirements for foreign nationals who purchase local SIMs. This is also part of our commitment to make our tourism and business environment as friendly as possible to foreign visitors.

Fourth, we clarified that the data of existing postpaid subscribers should already be included in the SIM register to ease the process for postpaid subscribers who may have already submitted personal information to their respective PTEs upon subscription.

Fifth, we require PTEs to establish the necessary registration facilities in remote areas within 60 days from the effectivity of the Act. Wala dapat maiiwan. The SIM registration process should be inclusive and accessible especially for those who may have limited access to the Internet, and the burden to make this happen is on the telcos who have the capacity and resources to make this happen.

Finally, we added extra measures in the confidentiality clause such as ensuring that the court order for disclosure is only upon finding of probable cause.

Mr. President, today we finally send a clear reply to these scam and spam messages--"Stop" under pain of penalty. As the text capital of the world, we hold precious our means to communicate, and anyone who abuse or misemploy the system for their own fraudulent and unlawful interests must be traceable and subsequently held accountable.

This is not a magic cure for all our telco problems but it is a huge step in the right direction. I couldn't be more grateful and proud to be part of a Congress that prioritizes the welfare and safety of our end-users.

Thus, it is my humble submission that this Bicameral Conference Committee Report on the disagreeing provisions of Senate Bill No. 1310 and House Bill No. 14 on the SIM Registration Act be ratified by this Chamber.

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