Most Pinoys OK with SIM card listup, but wary of data leak: Survey

Only 48 per cent surveyed said SIM card sellers could be trusted to protect their customers’ private information.

Nathalie Grace Adalid

Nathalie Grace Adalid

Philippine Daily Inquirer



November 7, 2022

MANILA – Three in five adult Filipinos approve of the mandatory registration of subscriber identity module (SIM) cards, which was signed into law by President Marcos last month, according to a recent Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey.

Republic Act No. 11934, or the SIM Card Registration Act, aimed at curbing text scams and other crimes using cell phones, was enacted on Oct. 10, a week after the noncommissioned SWS poll was conducted from Sept. 29 to Oct. 2.

According to SWS, 60 percent of the respondents favored the measure requiring SIM card registration, while 23 percent were undecided and 17 percent expressed disapproval, for a net approval (approved minus disapproved) score of +44, which the pollster classified as “good.”

RA 11934, the first law to be signed by Mr. Marcos, took effect on Oct. 28.

The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), in coordination with the Department of Information and Communications Technology, Department of Trade and Industry and the country’s telecommunications companies, is expected to come up with the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) within 60 days from the law’s effectivity.

Trust issue

The SWS interviewed 1,500 respondents nationwide. The survey had a margin of error of plus-or-minus 2.5 percent for national percentages.

While 66 percent of the respondents believed that SIM card registration would help in the fight against telco-using crimes, only 48 percent said SIM card sellers could be trusted to protect their customers’ private information.

The law requires SIM card users to provide telcos with valid documents, including a complete registration form, photos and official identification cards.

It prohibits the disclosure of the subscriber’s personal information unless there is a subpoena, valid order or written request from a law enforcement agency in relation to an ongoing investigation.

The law imposes penalties of up to P4 million in fines for violators.

Low awareness

The majority of Filipinos in all geographic areas and levels of educational attainment approve of SIM card registration and share the belief that it would help fight the targeted crimes, the survey showed.

But the results also showed that only 45 percent of Filipinos were aware of the measure, while the remaining 55 percent learned about it for the first time during the interview.

Awareness about the requirement was most pronounced in Metro Manila, with 56 percent saying they had heard or read about it before. In the rest of Luzon, it was 49 percent; the Visayas, 44 percent; and Mindanao, 32 percent.

Under the law, all new SIM cards sold after the measure’s date of effectivity would be deactivated and their new users are required to register their cards with their local telcos.

Registration starts at the point of sale, which means that a SIM card will not be sold to a person who refuses to provide the required personal information. Giving false information is thus penalized as well.

Existing postpaid and prepaid mobile phone subscribers will have to register their SIM cards within 180 days, or six months, from the effectivity of the law to avoid deactivation. SIM cards not registered within this period will be automatically deactivated, and will only be reactivated after compliance.

Foreigners and tourists should present a passport and provide a Philippine address when buying a SIM card.

A SIM card may be registered for use by a minor but should be under the name of a parent or a guardian.

Telcos must keep a file of subscriber SIM cards and submit a list of authorized dealers and agents nationwide to the NTC on a quarterly basis.

The companies may be asked by law enforcement agencies to look up the owner of a SIM card as they investigate a crime.

scroll to top