November 18, 2022
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Grace Poe has said that the SIM Card Registration Act, which aims to fight text scams and spam, is expected to take effect on December 27, even as uncertainties remain about whether the law will actually work.
Poe revealed the timeline of the newly passed law on Wednesday as she defended at the Senate plenary the proposed P11.322 billion budget of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) for 2023.
“It will be effective definitely December 27, so marami pa rin ang babati sa inyo ng Merry Christmas at hihingi ng auginaldo (so many people may still greet you a Merry Christmas and ask for monetary Christmas gifts),” she said.
While the SIM Card Registration law was enacted in October, its Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) is still pending completion, according to the senator.
A public hearing with the DICT and other stakeholders will be held on December 5 to discuss the IRR, which is expected to be completed and released to the public by December 12.
Even after the passage of the SIM Card Registration bill, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian expressed alarm over the spam messages and text scams that continue unabated. The senator has previously requested an update on the law’s implementation.
Poe recognized that she and many others were still receiving these fraudulent text messages.
“Unfortunately, maybe the telecommunications companies (telcos) are also waiting for the IRR for it to be clearer to them how to be able to police these texts. But I know Globe and Smart (have) already canceled a lot of numbers based on this, and yet, there are still some,” she said.
Under the SIM Card Registration Act, those who already own a SIM card would be required to register with telcos within a given period, while those who have yet to purchase one will be required to submit a valid identification document to the telcos and direct sellers.
However, local telcos have also sought to ramp up the national ID system’s rollout and have more time to prepare for the law’s implementation.
Civil society groups have also raised concerns over several provisions of the law, which, they asserted, may be used to impede the people’s enjoyment of their rights to speech and privacy.