Albay Rep. Joey Sarte Salceda on Saturday urged the Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT) to reconsider its decision to move the SIM registration deadline to April from the original June deadline.
Salceda, chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means, said that the DICT’s decision was “premature since we don’t know how quickly most Filipinos will be able to register.”
“Absent any effort to make the registration more inclusive and accessible, moving the deadline earlier is not the right way to go,” Salceda said.
“It’s highly unusual to make that decision. Whatever the merits, let’s just stick to what the law says,” Salceda said, referring to the 180-day registration period prescribed by the implementing rules and regulations of the act.
The DICT’s decision would cut short the registration period to just 120 days, a “unilateral decision that the DICT is not within its bounds to make,” Salceda said.
Salceda, who asserted that the SIM card registration law is a net positive overall, “especially for cybersecurity and for fighting text and call scams,” said he still believes “the DICT should have made the decision much closer to the actual date.”
“Remember that the registration is mostly online, and you have some 3 million Filipino mobile users who are not using smartphones. So, let’s be fair to them.”
“Another 1.3 million young users of smartphones do not have any reliable access to mobile data. And if you deactivate their SIM, you would affect their studies.”
Salceda also reminded DICT that the law stipulates that the registration period is 180 days, “which only began on December 27, with some heavy traffic issues at that. So, registration, as per the law, should really end by June 27, 2023. And that’s still extendible.”
The SIM card registration act’s implementing rules and regulations earlier stated that the registration could be extended by authorities by 120 days even after the 180-day period.
Salceda also appealed that “extra avenues for registration be given to Senior Citizens, Persons With Disabilities, and those living in geographically isolated and displaced areas.”
“I would appeal to the DILG to mandate and capacitate local government units to provide these avenues,” Salceda said.
Salceda, one of the authors of the SIM Card Registration Act, is also a member of the House Committee on Information and Communication Technology.