Mandatory SIM card registration bill approved in the Lower House: What you need to know

The House of Representatives approved House Bill 5793, also known as the “Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) Card Registration Act,” on the third and final reading, requiring end-users to produce identity before obtaining a SIM card. While the bill has yet to be signed into law, it is useful to be familiar with it.

On December 6, 2021, the bill received 181 affirmative votes, six negative votes, and no abstentions in the House. The bill’s goal is to enhance accountability in using a SIM card and give law enforcement agencies the resources they need to solve crimes involving mobile phones and postpaid or prepaid SIM cards.

Requirements

Under the bill, it mandates all direct sellers to register the following information in the SIM card registration form:

  • Full name
  • Date of birth
  • Gender
  • Address of the end-user as shown in the valid ID
  • Phone number of the SIM card and its serial number

On an important note, only direct sellers who have been duly authorized by the Public Telecommunications Entity (PTE) or telco and the NTC shall be allowed to sell prepaid SIM cards. If not authorized, the telco is mandated to recall all prepaid SIM cards for sale to the public.

Buyers of the SIM card are also required to present the original copy of any of the following valid government IDs with photo:

  • • Passport
  • National ID
  • Digitized Social Security Service (SSS) ID
  • Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) e-Card
  • Driver’s license
  • Firearms’ License to Own and Possess (LTOP) ID
  • Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) ID
  • Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) ID
  • Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) ID
  • Digitized Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) ID
  • Voter’s ID
  • Senior Citizen’s card
  • Person with Disabilities (PWDs) card
  • Other government-issued ID

In the absence of any of the above IDs, buyers can present an NBI clearance, police clearance, or PSA-certified birth certificate with an ID picture taken within the last 6 months. The direct seller may make further inquiries or require additional identification.

For foreign nationals visiting as tourists for not more than 30 days, they need to register their full name, passport number, and address upon presenting the following:

  • Passport
  • Proof of address in the Philippines
  • Return ticket to own country or any other ticket showing the date and time of departure.

For foreign nationals staying for more than 30 days either as workers or students need to present the following:

  • Passport
  • Full name as indicated in the passport
  • Proof of address in the Philippines
  • Alien Employment Permit issued by DOLE
  • Alien Certificate of Registration Identification Card or ACRI-Card issued by the Bureau of Immigration; or
  • School registration and ID for students

The registration form shall be accomplished in triplicate and forwarded by the direct seller to the telco. Information in the SIM card registration shall be treated as absolutely confidential. PTEs, on the other hand, are required to maintain a SIM Card Register of their subscribers.

Lost SIM Card or change in information

In case of a loss of a SIM card or any change in information in the registration form after purchase of the SIM card, the subscriber needs to notify the telco within 48 hours from such loss or change in information.

Existing SIM cards

Existing mobile phone subscribers with prepaid cards are required to register with their respective telcos within 180 days from the day the Act becomes effective. You can request an extension of not more than 120 days upon a valid written request to the DICT.

Failure to register within the prescribed period shall authorize the telco to deactivate the services to the concerned prepaid SIM card subscriber.

Penalties are also set in place for the PTE and direct seller should they fail to comply with the provisions of the bill.

Click here for the full copy of the bill.

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