A culmination of nearly a decade-long effort to help curb criminality through mobile phones, Senator Win Gatchalian said the approval on third reading of the proposed SIM Card Registration Act inches closer to the realization of a measure that will combat fraudulent digital activities now flourishing under the current system in the country.
“Finally, after eight years 11and two Congresses, our efforts have paid off. The registered subscriber identity module (SIM) card will enable law enforcers and regulatory agencies to have the means to track and monitor those carrying out wicked schemes and illicit acts,” the senator said.
Gatchalian, who pursued the enactment of the measure while he was still a member of the House of Representatives, underscored the necessity of the law considering how the commission of illicit activities through mobile phones drastically changed through the years.
The senator said that when he first conceptualized the bill in 2013, it was envisioned to address criminal acts of syndicates and many forms of terrorism, bullying, and harassment, among many others.
“With the prevalence of online fraud, smishing, phishing and, most recently, the hacking of bank accounts and text scams, the situation demands for a more stringent measure that will discourage the commission of these despicable acts,” said Gatchalian, co-author of Senate Bill No. 2395.
The legislation of SIM card registration, whether in its physical or digital form, is a step forward to create systems for a more secure digital transaction, reduce fraud, provide greater consumer access to e-government services, and create opportunities for mobile e-commerce, he explained.
Gatchalian has earlier pushed for the registration of the emerging digital SIM or embedded SIM (eSIM) as the Committee report version covers only the traditional SIM card or the chip that is physically installed or removed inside the mobile phones.
“We have to keep up with the constantly changing technology which appears to come at a rapid pace nowadays. Since the pandemic struck, we’ve seen how cyber criminals become more sophisticated, complex and innovative in their schemes just so they could commit cyberheist and engineered scams,” the Vice Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Banks, Financial Institutions and Currencies said.
With the measure already passed by the lower house, Gatchalian expressed confidence that it will just be a matter of time that the bill will come into fruition before the adjournment sine die of the present 18th Congress and fully implemented by next year.