Published 30 December 2022, The Daily Tribune

In October 2022, I wrote a two-part article on Republic Act 1934, otherwise known as the “Subscriber Identity Module Registration Act.” Signed into law on 10 October 2022, the Act required the registration of SIM cards for electronic devices by all users to promote responsibility in their use and provide law enforcement agencies the tools to resolve crimes that involve the utilization of SIM cards and a platform to deter the commission of wrongdoings.

The Act further mandates that within 60 days from its effectivity, the National Telecommunications Commission, in coordination with concerned agencies, as well as public telecommunications entities and major consumer groups, shall set the guidelines for the monitoring and proper implementation of the Act and shall promulgate the implementing rules and regulations as may be necessary to ensure the effective implementation of the Act.

On 12 December 2022 the NTC issued Memorandum Circular No. 001-12-2022 providing for the IRR of the Act. On 27 December 2022, the IRR took effect, 15 days after its publication.

The IRR reiterates the required registration of the SIMs of all existing subscribers/end-users within 180 days from the effectivity of the Act, extendible for another 120 days. Failure to register the existing SIM within the period prescribed shall result in the automatic deactivation of the SIM. The further IRR provides that the deactivated SIM may only be reactivated after registration; provided, however, that reactivation shall be made not later than five days after such automatic deactivation.

Obligations of End-Users

The IRR clarified the obligations of end-users to be as follows: (1) undertake registration of their own SIMs within 180 days from the effectivity of the Act, without prejudice to the possible extension by the DICT up to a maximum period of 120 days; (2) immediately report to their respective PTEs (a) any change in the information supplied in their applications for SIM registration, (b) lost or stolen SIM by providing the name, address, date of birth, mobile subscription number and such other relevant and reasonable information as may be required by the PTE to fully establish ownership of the SIM; (3) in case of death of the end-user, the immediate family or relatives shall immediately report said information to the respective PTE; (4) submit to their respective PTEs any request for activation/deactivation; and (5) undertake not to sell or transfer registered SIMs without complying with the registration requirements under the Act and its IRR.

Obligations of PTEs

Another notable provision of the IRR refers to the obligations of the PTEs including (1) effecting any change in the information in their respective SIM registers requested by their respective end-users within two hours from receipt of such requests; (2) deactivating the SIM within 24 hours from receipt of the information on the death of the end-user, loss or theft of a SIM, or request for deactivation; (3) deactivation, temporarily or permanently, the SIM used for fraudulent text or call, upon due investigation, and (4) providing user-friendly reporting mechanism for their respective end-users to report any potentially fraudulent text or call, change of information, lost or stolen SIM, or death of a registered end-user.

The IRR further reiterates the penal provisions of the Act for providing false or fictitious information or for using fictitious identities or fraudulent identification documents to register a SIM, for the sale or transfer of a registered SIM without complying with the required registration, for spoofing of a registered SIM, for failure to register a SIM, for sale of a stolen SIM, for breach of confidentiality, and for breach of confidentiality due to negligence.

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