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Gatchalian to DICT: Take the lead on SIM card registration

PASAY CITY, Philippines – File photo showing then Valenzuela City Rep. Win Gatchalian acknowledging then chief legal counsel and senior vice president for corporate and regulatory affairs of Globe Telecom Atty. Rodolfo Salalima after the Senate Public Services committee hearing on the lawmaker’s SIM Registration Act, 11 Aug. 2015. Gatchalian, now a senator, is urging Salalima, now secretary of the newly established Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) to faithfully exercise his duties despite his close ties to telecom insiders. Photo by Mark Cayabyab/OS WIN GATCHALIAN

The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) should drum up executive support for proposed legislation seeking the mandatory registration of prepaid subscriber identity module (SIM) cards, Senator Win Gatchalian has said.

Gatchalian is the author of Senate Bill No. 203, otherwise known as the “SIM Card Registration Act”, which will require all prospective buyers of prepaid SIM cards to present a valid photo ID before they can complete their purchase. Old SIM cards, on the other hand, should be registered within 180 days from the effectivity of the proposed measure.

“We’re calling on DICT Secretary Rodolfo Salalima to push for the approval of this proposal,” Gatchalian, who is the chairman of the Senate Committee on Economic Affairs, said as he drew attention to Salalima’s background and his connections in the telecommunications industry.

“I remember that during his confirmation hearings, Secretary Salalima assured members of the Commission on Appointments that he would support this bill. Tingnan natin ang magiging aksyon niya,” he said.

Prior to his appointment to the DICT, Salalima served as Chief Legal Counsel and Senior Vice President for Corporate and Regulatory Affairs of Globe Telecom. He also formerly worked as Vice President and head of Legal and Human Relations at the International Communications Corporation, later renamed as Bayantel; and as a Board Director and Corporate and Chief Counsel of Radio Communications of the Philippines (RCPI). He was also a former president of the Philippine Chamber of Telecommunications Operators (PCTO).

Gatchalian expressed hope that Salalima would faithfully exercise his duties as DICT secretary despite his close ties to telecom insiders.

The senator recalled that as Globe’s legal counsel, Salalima objected to the mandatory registration of prepaid SIM cards and cited how this would greatly reduce the sales of prepaid SIM cards and affect the income of telcos. Due to intense lobbying by telecom players against its approval, lawmakers have experienced difficulty in marshaling majority support for the proposed measure’s enactment into law.

“Telecom industry players have been the biggest stumbling block to the approval of this proposed scheme. With Secretary Salalima now at the helm of the DICT, I hope he would succeed where legislators have so far failed – to change the minds of telecoms honchos and make them agree with the proposal,” Gatchalian said.