A VENDOR shows different SIM cards for sale at a stall in Quiapo, Manila, Oct. 8, 2022. — PHILIPPINE STAR /KRIZ JOHN ROSALES

THE Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) said it will not extend the deadline for the mandatory registration of subscriber identity module (SIM) cards.

“We are not yet looking at the possibility of an extension. We are still sticking with the April 26 deadline and all hands are on deck to ensure the registration of as many users as possible,” DICT Undersecretary for Public Affairs and Foreign Relations Anna Mae Y. Lamentillo said in a media briefing on Monday.

Ella Blanca Lopez, the commissioner of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), said the agency is confident of meeting the deadline.

“We are hoping that SIM subscribers will register by April 26 though as of now only 19.71% are registered. But we still have time,” Ms. Lopez said.

Data from the DICT show that there are about 168.98 million subscribers nationwide. The SIM card registration process started on Dec. 27, 2022

Republic Act No. 11934 or the SIM Registration Act is said to combat worsening text scams and fraud in the country. 

Ms. Lopez said four months before the implementation of the law, the NTC had been receiving complaints through its hotline for text scams.

“We reviewed the complaints that we received and there are 51,874 complaints or roughly 1,500 per day,” she said.

She said since the start of the SIM card registration, the complaints were down to 8,700.

Meanwhile, Ms. Lopez said that the NTC is now addressing the concerns over the slow progress in the registration of SIM cards.

“Yes, we have received the letter from Infrawatch,” Ms. Lopez said, referring to the public policy think-tank. “We are internally discussing how to address the matter.”

In a letter to the NTC dated Feb. 7, Infrawatch PH expressed concern over the slow pace of registration, warning that if the current pace continues, the number of registered subscribers would only be at around 69.52% of the total subscribers.

Meanwhile, Globe Telecom, Inc. rolled out assistance desks in over 500 locations in the country to assist and make it easier for customers to register their SIM cards.

“It is a momentous initiative that will bring together Filipinos across the country to register their SIMs and move us closer to our goal of reducing spam and scam text messages, which is the intent of the SIM Registration Act. It’s a historic moment for Globe as we endeavor to get closer to our customers through online channels and on-site booths,” Darius Delgado, head of Globe’s channel management group, said. — Ashley Erika O. Jose