Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Raymund Villafuerte on Thursday proposed an inter-agency panel tasked to accelerate the listing of Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards to consider establishing more offsite registration sites in as many geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas (GIDA) as possible.
The lawmaker said this is a way to meet the April 26 sign-up deadline under the SIM enrolment law.
Villafuerte, one of the authors of the SIM registration law, made this proposal as Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) Secretary Ivan John Uy claimed the registration process was “progressing very, very fast,” even as Uy revealed that at the current rate, about 60 million or 80 million SIM card owners will have registered by April.
Such projected registrants by April comprise just half of the number of SIM cards in the country, which Uy said could number 140 million to 150 million, Villafuerte said. But “some” of these numbers are believed by Uy to be already inactive, he added.
Villafuerte, president of the National Unity Party, further said “given that the projected 60 million to 80 million registrants by April make up just about half of the DICT-estimated 140 million to 150 million SIM cards in the country, the Inter-Agency Ad Hoc Committee needs to look for ways to accelerate the registration process much, much faster, so that the DICT and NTC could actually hit the April 26 deadline set by RA (Republic Act) 11934 for the completion of the list-up six months after this law’s enactment.”
“And one way for the Inter-Agency panel to do this is to consider putting up more off-site registration sites in each of the 15 GIDA identified for the sign-up as well as establishing additional enrolment centers outside these GIDA venues in many more isolated or
remote places with limited or no wi-fi or Internet access all over the country,” said Villafuerte, who, along with three more CamSur congressmen, were among the authors of a House bill that was consolidated with several other congressional measures that eventually became RA 11934.
As of end-January, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) website reported that an aggregate of 27,005,612 million SIM cards have already been registered with the three public telecommunications entities (PTEs).
Almost 13.83 million SIM card owners have thus far signed up with Smart Communications Inc.; over 11.03 million with Globe Telecom Inc.; and close to 2,15 million with DITO Telecommunity Corp.