VOTING 167 to 6, the House of Representatives on Tuesday night approved on third and final reading a bill requiring the registration of all users of Subscriber Identity Module or SIM cards.
The House approved House Bill 7233 or the proposed “Subscriber Identity Module Card Registration Act” 1.6 authored by Deputy Speakers Gwendolyn Garcia of Cebu City and Sharon Garin of the AAMBIS OWA party-list, and Minority Leader and Quezon City Rep. Danilo Suarez.
Meanwhile, Senator Win Gatchalian on Wednesday urged the Senate to give priority to the passage of the SIM Card Registration Act after the House approved its own version of House Bill 7233 earlier this week.
“The House has done its part. Now it’s up to the Senate to pass the bill and get it on the President’s desk for signature,” said Gatchalian, the author of Senate Bill 203 that is also known as the the SIM Card Registration Act.
He said he expected the bill to sail through the Senate, where it enjoys strong support. As early as 2016, seven versions of the bill had already been authored by 10 senators.
Once enacted, the bill will allow law enforcement agencies to track down criminals who use mobile phones with post-paid and pre-paid SIM cards to commit crimes like theft and kidnapping for ransom.
The bill defines “SIM” as the Subscriber Identity Module, which is an embedded circuit that securely stores international mobile subscriber identity and related keys used to identify and authenticate subscribers on mobile devices, such as mobile phones and computers.
It refers to the “SIM card” as a removable card into which an electronic integrated circuit is embedded and is transferable between different mobile devices.
“Public Telecommunication Entity or PTE” refers to any person, natural or judicial, government or private, engaged in the provision of telecommunications services to the public for compensation.
The bill mandates the sale and registration of SIM cards by directing every PTE or direct seller to require the end-user of a SIM card to present a valid identification with a photograph to ascertain his or her identity.
The PTE or direct seller will also require the SIM card end user to accomplish and sign a controlled-number registration form issued by the respective PTE of the SIM card purchased.
All direct sellers are mandated to register in the SIM card registration form the following information: full name, date of birth, gender and address of the end-user appearing in a valid government-issued identification document with a photograph.
The bill also requires end-users who are foreign nationals to register their full name, passport number and address in the SIM card registration form.