September 23, 2023

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The Philippines National Police Promotes SIM Registration

The Philippine National Police (PNP) is one of the major agencies tasked combat cybercrime. The agency has been monitoring crimes involving technology and has noted a significant increase over the years. PNP Chief Gen. Rodolfo Azurin Jr. believes the robust implementation of the SIM Registration Act implementation would be an effective method of dealing with cybercrime and cyber criminals.

“Through this timely and relevant legislation, we are closing all windows of opportunity for criminal elements to take advantage by requesting that all mobile phone users immediately comply with the law,” Chief Gen. Azurin Jr said. “Rest assured, under my leadership, the PNP will do everything in our power and mandate to make this happen.”

Chief Gen. Azurin Jr. has directed PNP employees to comply with the Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) Registration Act as soon as possible. All 227,000 PNP officers and rank-and-file personnel are encouraged to ask their families and household members to register following Republic Act No. 11934. He also directed the PNP DICTM (Directorate for Information and Communications Technology Management) to keep track of PNP personnel’s compliance.

With many Filipinos being victimised by text scams and data breaches daily, Interior Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. believes that the law would allow the Philippine National Police and other law enforcement agencies to respond quickly to complaints and cases involving mobile scams. The Act makes it easier for the PNP to track down offenders and resolve misconduct involving telecommunication devices.

The Republic Act 11934, also known as the Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) Card Registration Act is predicted to significantly reduce 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.

The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) reported that over 3 million SIM cards were successfully registered across all three telecommunications companies in the first two days of SIM registration implementation. For the first seven days after the rollout begins, telcos must submit a daily report to the NTC.

Subscriptions will then have 180 days to register their SIM cards before mid-2023 or from the date of purchase. The government urged users to subscribe immediately before the timeline ended. NTC Deputy Commissioner Jon Paulo Salvahan believes the Philippines will achieve 160-180 million SIM registrations within the time frame.

Furthermore, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) reported on Thursday that it had received nearly 500 SIM card registration complaints. According to DICT, the first 15 days of SIM registration are considered a test period. Some glitches or technical issues are expected during the period as public telecommunications entities (PTEs) fine-tune their respective processes. During this 15-day test period, PTEs can assess what they need to improve to make the registration process more efficient and user-friendly.

To deal with the growth of cyber threats, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) will launch short-term courses and long-term cybersecurity programmes to strengthen the country’s cybersecurity workforce. The efforts in response to the increased demand for cybersecurity experts and the USAID study show a need for cybersecurity skills felt by both the private and public sectors.

The final report, “National Cybersecurity Talent Workforce Assessment Report of the Philippines,” was completed in October and formally presented in December. The report investigates the current cybersecurity challenges, gaps, and positions. The report emphasises the country’s current need for credentialed or certified cybersecurity workforce.

Only 200 certified cybersecurity experts or those with Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) certifications are currently available in the Philippines. Furthermore, only about 30% of these accredited experts work in the country, with the remainder working abroad.

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