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5 Things You Need to Know About the SIM Registration Act

The Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) Registration Act is a new law that aims to mitigate the proliferation of text scams in the country. This is the first law signed by President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.

The original bill was approved by the 18th Congress, however, former President Rodrigo R. Duterte vetoed the bill last April 2022 due to the last-minute insertion of the mandatory social media registration provision that required users to disclose their real name and phone numbers upon creation of the account. This provision is no longer in the current SIM Registration Act.

Under the current measure, all SIM cards sold are in a deactivated state, and end-users are required to register their SIMs with the concerned Public Telecommunication Entity (“PTE” or “Telcos”). 

Here’s what you need to know:

What information should you provide?

All new and existing SIM subscribers should fill out and provide the following details in an electronic registration form provided by Telcos:

  1. Full name
  2. Address
  3. Date of birth
  4. Sex
  5. Assigned mobile number and its serial number

To verify the identity of the SIM subscribers, they should also present a government-issued ID.

When buying a SIM for someone else, you must be authorized through a duly notarized Special Power of Attorney and present an original and true copy of any valid identification document with a photo of both the principal and representative.

Foreign nationals are required to register their name, nationality, passport number, and address in the Philippines. 

In case of Tourists visiting for not more than thirty (30) days, they are required to present their passport, proof of address in the Philippines, and return ticket to their own country or any other ticket showing the date and time of their departure from the Philippines.

For foreign nationals in the country who either work or study in the Philippines, they must present their passport, proof of address in the Philippines, Alien Employment Permit from the Department of Labor and Employment, Alien Certificate of Registration Identification Card or ACRI-Card from the Bureau of Immigration, school registration ID for students, or other pertinent documents.1 

For minors, the registration of a SIM shall be under the name of the minor’s parent or guardian, provided that the minor’s parent or guardian shall give their consent and register the SIM.

When should you register?

Since it is the responsibility of the Telco to provide the SIM Register, we are to wait for further announcements from them on when and how to register.

New SIM subscribers must register their SIMs as a prerequisite to its activation. 

On the other hand, all existing SIM subscribers must also register their SIMs within 180 days from the effectivity of the law. 

Failure to register will authorize immediate deactivation of the SIM. Deactivated SIM may only be revived after registration.

Who keeps your information?

The SIM Registration Act requires Telcos to keep the electronic registration form in their database. The database shall strictly serve as a SIM Register to be used by Telcos to process, activate or deactivate a SIM or subscription and shall not be used for any other purpose.

What are the safeguards in place to protect my information?

Telcos are mandated to ensure at all times the security and protection of the subscribers’ data. The Telcos shall comply with the minimum information security standards prescribed by the DICT consistent with internationally accepted cybersecurity standards and relevant laws, rules, and regulations.

The DICT shall establish and perform an annual audit on Telcos’ compliance with information security standards

Pursuant to SIM Registration Act, any information and data obtained in the registration process are treated as absolutely confidential and shall not be disclosed to any person.

How can someone access your records?

Notwithstanding the confidentiality clause, disclosure can be made in any of the following instances:

  1. In compliance with any law obligating the Telcos to disclose such information in accordance with the provisions of the Data Privacy Act of 2012;
  2. In compliance with a court order or legal process upon finding of probable cause;
  3. Upon the issuance of a subpoena by a competent authority pursuant to an investigation based on a sworn complaint that a specific mobile number was or is being used in the commission of a crime or that it was utilized as a means to commit a malicious, fraudulent or unlawful act, and that the complainant is unable to ascertain the identity of the perpetrator.
  4. With the written consent of the subscriber. 

More information on the workings of the law should be answered in the implementing rules and regulations to be issued by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), in close coordination with the DICT, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the National Privacy Commission (NPC), PTEs, and major consumer groups.2

FOOTNOTES

  1. Philstar Global, (10 October 2022), [A new law now requires SIM card registration. What happens next?], [News Article] ​https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2022/10/10/2215656/new-law-now-requires-sim-card-registration-what-happens-next
  2. Abarca, Charie Mae F., (10 October 2022), [IRR of SIM Registration Act to be crafted, polished in 60 days – NTC], [News Article] https://mb.com.ph/2022/10/10/implementing-rules-and-regulations-of-sim-registration-act-to-be-crafted-polished-in-60-days-ntc/​
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