The registration for the subscriber identity module (SIM) cards will be extended for another 90 days or until July 25, Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla announced on Tuesday.
However, after the original April 26 deadline, subscribers will have limited access to services until they finally register.
“Most of the services will be cut off with the telcos (telecommunications companies). So, there will be a social media unavailability for those who do not register in the next 90 days,” Remulla said in an interview after attending a Cabinet cluster meeting.
Senator Grace Poe, meanwhile, called for a boost in information dissemination of Republic Act (RA) 11934 or the SIM Registration Act now that the deadline has been extended.
WHERE TO BUY A SIM CARD IN THE PHILIPPINES
Here are the top mobile networks (where you can purchase and get a SIM card) in the Philippines:
Poe, who chairs the Senate Committee on Public Services, said the extension would help clarify the confusion and concerns of registrants regarding the law.
"It should be emphasized that SIMs will still be available in local retailers and sari-sari stores even past the SIM Registration deadline. Users will simply be required to register first before they can activate their new SIMs," she said in a statement as she welcomed the decision to extend the registration.
"SIM registration was meant to promote the responsible use of SIM and to halt the abuses of scammers and criminals. It is not meant to punish legitimate SIM subscribers, especially those at remote areas."
She recalled that when the bill on SIM registration was under deliberation, lawmakers considered the compliance of the more than 168 million SIM subscribers and had foreseen the need to extend the registration period to accommodate all users.
Poe was the bill's sponsor in the Senate.
As of April 23, National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) data show that about 82,845,397, or 49.31 percent of SIM cards have been registered.
The breakdown is as follows:
- DITO: 5,796,175 or 38.73 percent
- Globe: 37,099,437 or 42.77 percent
- Smart: 39,949,785 or 60.25 percent
To see the SIM registration links for all networks, visit HOW TO REGISTER SIM CARD IN THE PHILIPPINES
Poe reiterated her call to telecom firms to go down to the grassroots to reach out to more subscribers.
"As most telcos have been enjoying vast profits from their services, they have the corresponding obligation and the necessary resources to track down their SIM users and to widen the opportunity for registration," she said.
Poe noted that while several locations have been visited for remote registration, more needs to be covered as key areas, such as the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao have yet to be reached, according to data from the NTC.
The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) should also look into the continuing proliferation of spam messages despite the ongoing SIM registration, she said.
Meanwhile, two days before the SIM card registration deadline, the DICT and its attached agencies met with officials from the country’s three public telecommunication entities (PTEs) – Globe, Smart, and DITO – to discuss concerns on the implementation of RA 11934.
ATTRACTIONS TO SEE IN MANILA
In a statement, the DICT said it exchanged views with the three firms on ways to resolve some issues faced by the registrants, such as barriers in obtaining government-issued IDs and documents, and improvements in the SIM registration process.
Only one of the 17 accepted government-issued IDs and documents is needed to proceed with the registration, the DICT said.
"The possibility of extending the SIM registration period was also discussed during the meeting. We advise everyone to await the official announcement of the Department on the matter," the statement read.
Filipinos are encouraged to register their SIM cards before the deadline.
"The increasing number of registrants in the past few days is a clear indication that Filipinos share the desire to eradicate online and text scams once and for all," the DICT said.
ACTIVITIES AND TOURS IN MANILA
RA 11934, which was the first measure signed into law by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Oct. 10, 2022, aims to fight scams being made through text and online messages.
On Dec. 27, 2022, the 180-day SIM card registration began and was supposed to end on April 26, 2023.
SIM cards already in use but not registered during the sign-up period will be deactivated while new cards must be registered upon purchase.