THE SENATE passed on third and final reading Thursday a bill requiring the registration of Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards, a measure intended to deter cybercrime committed using mobile phones.

“At the core of this measure is the promotion of security in the country,” according to Senator Mary Grace S. Poe-Llamanzares, primary sponsor of the bill, speaking in plenary session. “It is timely and fitting given that various technology-aided crimes are rampant in the country today.”

Senate Bill 2395 or the SIM Card Registration Act was filed to add another layer of security for mobile users targeted for internet or electronic communication-aided crimes, which include terrorism, fraud, unsolicited and indecent messages, and bank fraud.

“Finally, after eight years and two Congresses, our efforts have paid off,” Sen. Sherwin T. Gatchalian said in a statement. “The registered subscriber identity module card will enable law enforcers and regulatory agencies to have the means to track and monitor those carrying out illicit acts.”

If passed, the measure will require all telecommunications companies to make registrants give out information and present valid government-issued identification cards upon the sale of the card.

Under the measure, all current SIM card subscribers with active services must register with their respective Public Telecommunications Entities within a year of the act taking effect.

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

If approved, social media providers and the telecommunication sector are obliged to provide information in response to 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 the use of fictitious identities to register SIM cards or social media accounts is a fine of up to P200,000 or imprisonment of between six and 12 years. — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan