Mandating the registration of subscriber identification module (SIM) cards would mark the end of an era to the modus operandi called “dugo-dugo” or “budol-budol,” Senator Win Gatchalian said.
“Matutuldukan na sa wakas at maagap nang malulutas ng mga awtoridad ang mga kriminal sa likod ng ganitong klaseng modus kapag naging batas na ang SIM card registration,” said Gatchalian, proponent of the SIM Card Registration Act now awaiting the president’s signature.
Nearly two weeks after the Senate and the House of Representatives ratified the measure that aims to eradicate phone-aided criminal activities, a 14-year-old fell prey to a “dugo-dugo” gang that stole almost P10 million worth of her parents’ money and jewelry.
It will prove too difficult to carry out such a scheme once the bill becomes a law as all SIM subscribers, including those with active services, shall be required to register with their respective public telecommunications entity (PTE) within a year from effectivity of the measure. Failure to register within the prescribed period shall authorize the PTEs to automatically deactivate or retire the SIM card number.
Those found to have used fictitious identities to register SIM cards will face imprisonment of no less than six years or a fine of up to P200,000 or both, Gatchalian said.
The re-electionist senator said the same penalty shall be imposed to those spoofing registered SIM cards with the intent to defraud, cause harm or wrongfully obtain anything of value.
The use of unregistered SIM cards makes untraceable the identity of the scammers who trick unsuspecting household members into helping them get hold of the homeowners’ cash and valuables, the senator said.
“These kinds of criminal activities will finally be deterred. While our laws provide for equal access to communication, this kind of liberty may be curtailed if the use of such technology is abused and used to commit nefarious acts,” Gatchalian said.
For the past eight years, Gatchalian pursued the enactment of the measure, initially to address phone-aided terrorism.