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SIM Registration Law Signs in the Philippines

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With many Filipinos being victimised by text scams and data breaches daily, the signing of Republic Act 11934, also known as the Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) Card Registration Act, is a welcome step toward increasing accountability at all levels and a significantly reducing electronic communication-aided criminal acts that are commonly committed in anonymity.

The Philippine National Police and other law enforcement agencies would be able to readily trace criminals and address misconduct involving telecommunication devices under this new law, allowing them to respond rapidly to complaints and cases involving mobile scams.

According to the bill, all SIM cards sold are deactivated, and end-users must register their SIM cards with the relevant Public Telecommunications Entity (PTE) before they may be activated. All existing SIM subscribers, on the other hand, must register with their respective PTEs within 180 days of the law’s implementation.

The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) may, however, extend the registration for a maximum of 120 days. Failure to register the SIM within the necessary period will result in automatic deactivation, and it can only be reactivated when it has been registered in accordance with the legislation.

A SIM owner must submit a correctly completed control-numbered registration form giving his full name, date of birth, sex, and residence for registration under the legislation. The registration process also necessitates the entry of the SIM’s allocated number as well as its serial number.

The form must be completed electronically using the involved PTE’s platform or website, and it must include the end-declaration user’s that the identification documents he submitted are accurate and valid and that he is the same person who completed the registration form. To authenticate the end identity, users must show legitimate government-issued identification cards or similar documents with their photographs.

Corporations must produce their registration certificate, as well as a duly adopted resolution naming their duly authorised representative and specific power of attorney for the registration of SIM of other legal organisations.

A SIM card may be registered for a minor’s use, but only in the name of the parent or guardian who consented to the registration.

Furthermore, foreign nationals must register their name, nationality, passport number, and address in the Philippines. Tourists must also submit their passport, evidence of address in the Philippines, and a return ticket to their home country or any other ticket that shows the date and time of their departure from the Philippines. Their registered SIM card is only valid for 30 days and will be deactivated immediately after it expires. Foreign nationals with different sorts of visas must show their relevant documents for SIM registration, such as their passport, proof of domicile in the Philippines, and so on.

PTEs are required to keep their own database with the required information and to ensure that end-user data is secure and always protected. Any information and data received during the registration process shall be treated as strictly secret and shall not be revealed except in accordance with current laws or in accordance with a court order or legal process following the determination of probable cause.

The measure imposes specific penalties for violations of the SIM Registration Act, such as failure or refusal to register a SIM, breach of confidentiality, registering a SIM using fictitious identities or fraudulent identification documents, spoofing a registered SIM, selling a stolen SIM, and selling or transferring a registered SIM without complying with required registration. The law also sanctions imprisonment and fines for the sale or transfer of a registered SIM card without the requisite registration.

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