THE SENATE approved on second reading late on Monday a measure requiring the registration of Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards for mobile phones.

Senate Bill 2395 or the SIM Card Registration Act was filed to deter scams committed via mobile phone by allowing law enforcement agencies to track criminals using the phone network.

If passed, the measure will require all telecommunications companies to make the registration of SIM cards a requirement for their sale.

During the application period, registrants must accomplish the required forms and present valid government-issued identification cards as a condition of sale.

Under the proposed measure, all current SIM card subscribers with active services are to register with their respective Public Telecommunications Entities (PTEs) within a year of the act taking effect.

Failure to register means that the account will be deactivated and the number retired.

Failure by a PTE or a third-party reseller to comply with the registration requirements will result in fines of P100,000 and P10,000 respectively. 

A P200,000 fine will also be levied if any information obtained from the subscriber during the registration process is improperly revealed or disclosed.

The PTE may only provide information on the strength of a court order or a finding that a specific mobile number was or is being used to commit malicious, fraudulent, or unlawful acts.

The penalty for registering SIM cards to persons who present false identification is up to 12 years’ imprisonment or a P200,000 fine.

The features of the bill are according to the first-reading version of the bill. The Senate has yet to release a copy of the bill after second reading. — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan