February 29, 2024

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Better Internet in Remote Areas to Support Philippine SIM Registration

The Philippines Department of Information and Technology (DICT) has deployed a new tower at Boac, Marinduque, as part of the National Broadband Programme (NBP), known as Broadband ng Masa.

Secretary Ivan John E. Uy presided over the National Broadband Plan’s ground-breaking ceremony. He also participated in the province’s Free Wi-Fi for All Ceremonial Launch, which Marinduque Governor Presby Velasco chaired.

“Through the Broadband ng Masa programme, more Filipinos will have access to ICT services that will provide them with chances for growth and development, as well as enable them to engage in the progressive digital economy,” DICT Secretary Uy declared at the ceremony.

The DICT continues improving its connection efforts by deploying free Wi-Fi in distant locations to guarantee that Filipinos have access to high-quality internet, which will be critical for SIM registration. According to DICT, SIM Registration for 28,371,192 SIMs was completed as of February 2, 2023, at 11:59 PM. According to data provided by public telecommunications enterprises (PTEs), the overall number is 16.79% of the 168,977,773 million customers in the United States.

Smart Communications Inc. reported 14,569,983 SIMs registered, accounting for 21.43 per cent of Smart’s overall subscriber base of 67,995,734. Globe Telecom Inc. had 11,564,977 registered customers, accounting for 13.16 per cent of its total of 87,873,936 users. Meanwhile, DITO Telecommunity Corp. said that 2,236,232 SIM cards had been registered, accounting for 17.06% of its 13,108,103 users.

The DICT advised the public to be cautious while undertaking the verification process. DICT increased its subscriber identity module (SIM) registration drive at the grassroots level last month by cooperating with local government entities (LGUs).

According to DICT spokesperson Undersecretary Anna Mae Yu Lamentillo, some mayors have pledged to support SIM registration by motivating their citizens and disseminating information to communities. However, as the programme entered its third month, she anticipated a slowdown in SIM applications, followed by another increase as the April 26 deadline approached. She stated that assisted SIM registrations in distant areas have begun to help address the projected drop but that not all 169 million active mobile customers are forecast to reach.

In addition, the House of Representatives has joined the Commission on Elections (Comelec) Register Anywhere Project to increase the number of registered voters for future elections. Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez and Comelec Chairman George Erwin Garcia signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) Tuesday at the Batasan facility in Quezon City, making the House the latest government agency to join the project.

“We encourage our House members, personnel, dependents, and relatives, as well as those of associated agencies, and our people in general, to take advantage of this offsite or satellite listing scheme so they can exercise their right to vote in future elections,” he said.

DICT had used caravans to hold subscriber identity module (SIM) registration in numerous rural locations of the country. According to DICT Secretary Ivan John Uy, the caravan will stop in 15 locations across different provinces from Wednesday through Friday. The caravan will visit Ilocos, Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Northern Mindanao, and Davao. The venues will be primarily municipal auditoriums in Ilocos Norte, Cebu, Leyte, Bukidnon, and Davao del Sur.

The caravan assisted with the registration due to the absence of connectivity in these locations, which is required for SIM card registration online. Aside from a lack of connectivity, another barrier to SIM enrolment is a need for government-issued identification. As a result, the government is considering holding simultaneous SIM card and National ID system subscriptions in more rural places.

Previously, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced the establishment of National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) one-stop shops where the community can obtain NBI approval for use in SIM registration. In addition, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has urged local authorities to “exert all efforts” to encourage responsible SIM card use, inform the public of the benefits of SIM registration, and assist people with the entire SIM registration process.

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