The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) is urging the public to register their SIMs before the deadline to avoid losing their mobile numbers.
NTC consultant Edgardo Cabarrios said failure to register within the given period will result in the deactivation of their SIM cards.
The government earlier announced that SIM registration is set to begin on Dec. 27.
“They’re waiting for the deadline before registering. That’s why we’re asking the public to register when it opens on Dec. 27. If we have nothing important to do, let’s register, let’s not wait for the deadline,” Cabarrios, quoted by an ABS-CBN News report, said.
The telco regulator on Monday released the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) governing the SIM registration law.
According to the IRR, all SIMs must be registered 180 days following the effectivity of the law. But Cabarrios said the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) could extend the deadline if necessary.
Senator Grace Poe meanwhile commended the NTC for meeting the deadline of publication for the IRR of the SIM Registration Act.
“However, we note with grave concern the vague verification process under the said IRR. The importance of having a verification process cannot be emphasized enough–it serves as the first line of defense against the misuse of our mobile telecommunication systems to perpetrate national security threats and identity theft in the case of end-users,” Poe said.
She said a strong and definite verification process like what the public see in standard Know-Your-Customer (KYC) procedures is a proactive guard against possible abuses in the system.
“In order to facilitate the immediate implementation of the law, we are constrained to trust the assurances given by the Technical Working Group who drafted the IRR that the NTC will continuously issue the necessary guidelines to guide the telcos in the performance of their duties under the law, particularly specifying the processes for verifying submitted information,” the senator added.
Poe said the verification process may include the in-platform or in-website facial validation, such as a selfie scan that we see in apps like Gcash, and the cross-checking of submitted information.
“These are the sophisticated verification systems that we also see in model jurisdictions like Singapore which we all know has effectively implemented SIM registration,” she explained.
Poe said Congress shall continue to exercise its oversight functions and shall monitor the strict implementation of the law. “This law was created precisely to stomp down the proliferation of fraud and crime in the communications system. We will not allow for it to be another avenue for the commission of fraud and identity theft.”
“We also enjoin the telcos to invest in their platforms to make this transition and implementation as safe, convenient and accessible as possible for our mobile subscribers. They are reminded of their duty to serve the end-users and to ensure that the purpose of the SIM Registration Act is carried out accordingly,” she added.