With the impending mandatory registration of all subscriber identity module (SIM) cards taking effect this year, Senator Win Gatchalian said criminals can no longer enjoy anonymity as they can now be tracked down by law enforcers.
Gatchalian, a prime mover of the SIM card registration bill since he was still a member of the House of Representatives, said its recent ratification is also seen to build consumer trust in a fast-growing identity-linked digital services.
“This would help promote consumer and business confidence as there will now be a layer of protection against fraudsters.”
“This is a very timely development considering that there has been an unprecedented rise in e-commerce and digital services and this would help promote consumer and business confidence as there will now be a layer of protection against fraudsters,” the veteran legislator said.
“The boundless stream of supply of prepaid SIM cards has become a magnet of illicit activities. There have been countless cases of online fraudsters who use unregistered mobile numbers,” the seasoned lawmaker added.
The co-author of Senate Bill 2395 or the proposed SIM Card Registration Act noted that the most recent incidents and still prevalent are spam text messages offering non-existing part-time or work-from-home jobs as well as fake delivery bookings victimizing even notable personalities.
“Para sa marami nating kababayan na ang ikinabubuhay ay sa pamamagitan ng digital na transaksyon, malaking bagay na maisasalba sila sa tiyak na kapahamakan.”
“Para sa marami nating kababayan na ang ikinabubuhay ay sa pamamagitan ng digital na transaksyon, malaking bagay na maisasalba sila sa tiyak na kapahamakan,” the senator said.
Also under the bill, online lending schemes that employ abusive and unfair debt collection practices can no longer engage in such nefarious acts as the public telecommunications entity (PTE) will be required to provide information upon order of a competent authority if a specific mobile number or social media account is being used to commit libel, anonymous online defamation, hate speech, and the like.
In hearing the bill in the Senate last year, the Philippine National Police (PNP) Anti-Cybercrime Group said that in 2020 alone, they have recorded 6,110 cybercrime offenses and the top five crimes related to prepaid SIM card were online scams, online libel, computer-related identity theft or phishing, violation of Anti-Pornography and Voyeurism Act, and grave threat.
“If we want to curb these unlawful activities, it is imperative to regulate the sale and distribution of these SIM cards by establishing a registry or database of validated information of its authorized owner,” he concluded.