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House panel endorses mandatory SIM card registration bill for plenary debate.

The House Committee on Information and Communications Technology has recently endorsed for plenary approval a bill mandating the registration of SIM cards.

Committee Chairman Rep. Victor Yap of the Second District of Tarlac said that House Bill (HB) 7233 effectively substitutes 14 other measures to establish a SIM-card registration mechanism to help law- enforcement agencies solve cases and stop acts of terrorism.

'This bill will help investigators track criminals who use phones for illegal activities, as well as curb incidents, such as bullying, fraud, inciting of violence and the loss of phones through theft,' Yap said.

According to the Philippine National Police Anti-Cybercrime Group, the use of unregistered SIM card numbers in crimes, particularly in cybercrime, is a frequent hurdle in police investigations due to the anonymity it provides its users.

'With the mandatory SIM-card registration, law enforcers would now be able to identify offenders,' he added.

The Tarlac lawmaker added the bill would also help the government provide better services to the people and support its goal of financial inclusion.

'Once this bill passes into law, SIM-card users won't have to submit personal information and proof of identification to their mobile operators just to access 'mobile money' services. They'll be able to easily make use of traditional retail financial services, such as remittances, payments, savings, credit and insurance among others using their phones,' Yap said.

Under HB 7233, direct sellers of SIM cards would be required to register the full names, date of birth, gender and address of buyers, as well as the cell phone and serial number of the SIM card they purchased. The address listed out by consumers must be the same as the address listed in a valid government-issued ID with photo.

Mobile-phone service providers would also be required to maintain a SIM-card register of their subscribers containing information required for registration, which would be submitted to the Department of Information and Communications and Technology every six months.

Yap also doused fears about consumers' privacy, stating that a confidentiality clause has been included in the proposed measure to ensure that the personal information provided won't be used for other purposes.

'Technological advancements in mobile-phone services may have provided [to] Filipinos with easier means of communication, but it has also exposed our people to unprecedented security risks. As the industry continues to innovate, so too should our laws,' Yap said.

The HBs filed on SIM-card registration are: HB 590, 931, 1193, 1258, 2328, 2648, 2809, 3649, 3661, 4014, 4404, 4646, 5382 and 5591, authored by Reps. Mariano Michael M. Velarde Jr. (BuhayParty-list), Francis Gerald A. Abaya (First District, Cavite), Roy M. Loyola (Fifth District, Cavite), Rozzano Rufino B. Biazon (Lone District, Muntinlupa City), Magnolia C. Antonino (Fourth District, Nueva Ecija), Wes Gatchalian (First District, Valenzuela City), Winston Castelo (Second District, Quezon City), Maximo B. Rodriguez Jr. (Second District, Cagayan de Oro), Federico S. Sandoval II (Lone District, Malabon City), Carmelo B. Lazatin II (First District, Pampanga), Joel Mayo Z. Almario (Second District, Davao Oriental), Manuel Luis T. Lopez (First District, Manila) and Gus S. Tambunting (Second District, Paranaque City).

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Publication:Business Mirror (Makati City, Philippines)
Geographic Code:9PHIL
Date:Mar 14, 2018
Words:577
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