DILG to LGUs: Help combat cybercrime

December 19, 2022 Jun I. Legaspi 264 views

By prodding constituents to register SIM cards early

THE Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Monday urged all local government units (LGUs) to raise awareness among their constituents on the newly-enacted Republic Act No. 11934 or Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) Registration Act and prod their constituents to register their SIM cards starting December 27 “as this will help combat cybercrimes in the country.”

DILG Secretary Benjamin ‘Benhur’ Abalos, Jr. said that with millions of Filipino mobile subscribers, an intensive information drive must be carried out at the grassroots level and LGUs should step up in educating the public on the requirements and importance of the law.

“As we seek to ensure public safety even in the online space, I encourage LGUs to exert all efforts to promote responsible use of SIM cards, educate their stakeholders on the benefits of mandatory SIM card registration and guide them through the whole registration process,” he said.

Abalos added the SIM Registration Act will aid the Philippine National Police (PNP) and other law enforcement authorities in curbing rising electronic communication-aided criminal activities in the Philippines such as mobile phishing, text spams, online scams, bank frauds and identity theft.

As the first law signed by President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr., the SIM Registration Act aims to regulate the registration and use of SIMs by mandating all end-users to register their SIMs with their respective telecommunications networks before their activation.

Abalos said the implementation of the law will not only prompt accountability from all sides – the mobile users, the telcos, the government and authorities – but will also help the PNP to quickly locate offenders of crimes committed in anonymity through the use of electronic devices.

Section 4 of the IRR of the SIM Registration Act released by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) provides that DILG, along with other government agencies such as DICT, NTC, DepEd, and telecom companies, shall “facilitate all SIM registrations in remote areas with limited telecommunication or internet access.”

“Together with the LGUs, DILG will cooperate with DICT and the NCT to fast-track the establishment of registration facilities in geographically-isolated areas, which should be done within 60 days after December 27,” Abalos said.

He enlisted the assistance of local chief executives (LCEs) and barangay captains in remote areas in processing needed documents and other requirements to set up the registration centers. “We know not everyone has access to the internet and other means of communication so let us reach out to them and inform them of this new law,” he said.

To register, all existing SIM subscribers must submit an accomplished form through a database platform or website provided by the telco company within 180 days. The DICT can extend the registration period for another 120 days. If a subscriber fails to register, SIM cards will be deactivated.

Subscribers must provide the following: full name, birthday, sex, address, mobile SIM number and serial number and valid identification cards (for individuals); business name, business address and full name of authorized signatory (for businesses and other juridical entities); full name, nationality, birthday, passport, proof of Philippine address, return ticket to own country (for foreigners and tourists).

Abalos also urged parents and guardians to be responsible and register the SIM used by their minor children or relatives under their name to protect them from ill-intentioned individuals. They will be asked to present an ID and consent form.

“To our parents and guardians, let us help each other in this endeavor to safeguard minors. Magtulungan po tayo upang masiguro na hindi sila mabibiktima ng mga panloloko online,” he said.

Likewise, Abalos asked the public to support the mandatory SIM card registration as this will be beneficial in the long run, “I encourage every Filipino to register their SIM cards and be one with the government in fighting text and online scams which are becoming more prevalent in recent years.”

Moreover, Abalos warned people who will attempt to provide false or fictitious information and documents to register a SIM and those who will try to spoof a registered SIM to defraud or cause harm, “I would like to remind all of you and those with ill intentions that under this new law you can be imprisoned or be fined depending on your violation.”

Registering a SIM card with false or fictitious information or using fictitious identities will be subject to a penalty of imprisonment of six months to two years and a fine of P100,000 to P300,000 while spoofing will be subject to a six years jail time or/and a fine of P200,000.