Eleazar Ex-PNP chief-turned-senatorial candidate Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar

Eleazar backs sim card registration

December 8, 2021 Alfred P. Dalizon 247 views

RETIRED Philippine National Police (PNP) chief-turned 2022 senatorial candidate Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar Wednesday pushed for stiffer penalties against persons behind text scams as the House of Representatives approved on third and final reading the measure requiring the mandatory registration of Subscriber Identity Module or SIM cards in the country.

“Matagal nang problema ang text scamming dahil matagal na ring nakabinbin ang isa sa epektibong solusyon na inirekomenda namin sa PNP which is SIM card registration,” said Eleazar as he supported efforts to sign the bill into law.

The former PNP chief said the country must follow the examples of modern countries like the United States and Australia and our neighbors like China, Hongkong and Taiwan where buyers of SIM cards specifically foreigners have to submit their passports and other IDs as a requirement in making the purchase.

The measure is needed to immediately identify criminals and terrorists who may use the SIM cards to engage in fraudulent activities or activate a bomb if they are left unregistered.

Running under the Partido Reporma of presidential candidate and former PNP chief-turned veteran senator Panfilo ‘Ping’ M. Lacson and his running mate, Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III, the senatorial candidate was speaking from his experience as a former director of the PNP Anti-Cybercrime Group who became the country’s 26th top cop.

“Marami kaming natanggap na reklamong mga text scam kahit nung ako ay nasa ACG (PNP-Anti-Cybercrime Group) pa at tali ang kamay namin para matukoy kung saan nanggaling ang mga scam text messages na ito dahil ang ginagamit at yung mga prepaid cards na napakadali at napakamurang bilhin sa mga kanto,” he said.

Eleazar particularly referred to text messages being received by the public containing random job offers. The receiver of the text messages will then be asked to click a link to supposedly obtain more information about the job.

Eleazar stressed that the National Telecommunications Commission, the National Privacy Commission, the telecommunications companies, and law enforcement agencies such as the PNP and the National Bureau of Investigation should strengthen their joint efforts in protecting the privacy of the public and protecting them against text scamming.

He said the PNP-ACG now headed by Brigadier Gen. Robert T. Rodriguez also plays a major role in identifying those behind these scams as well as in running after them.

“Dapat mas paigtingin ng mga ahensyang ito ang kanilang paglaban sa text scamming. They should develop their systems in order to prevent these scammers from victimizing the public. These scammers should be out to justice,” Eleazar said.

The retired general asked the public to be vigilant against these fraudulent acts and be cautious in clicking the unknown links being sent to them.

“Hangga’t maaari, huwag kayong papatol sa mga ganito dahil kadalasan, nangloloko lamang ang mga nasa likod nito at ang publiko ang kanilang pinagkakakitaan,” he said.

On Monday, the Lower House passed House Bill 5793 with 181 affirmative votes, six negative votes, and no abstention. The bill aims to help law enforcement agencies in tracking down lawless criminals who use mobile phones with postpaid and prepaid SIM cards to pursue nefarious activities, such as kidnapping for ransom and petty crimes like theft.

Under the bill, every public telecommunication entity (PTE) or direct seller shall require the end user of a SIM card to present a valid identification with photo to ascertain the latter’s identity.

The end user shall be required to accomplish and sign a control-numbered registration form issued by the PTE or direct seller.

It likewise mandates all PTEs to maintain a SIM card register of their subscribers and submit the same to the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) every six months.

It provides for a confidentiality clause that prohibits disclosure of any information of a subscriber, unless upon subpoena or lawful order from a competent court or written request from law enforcement agency in relation to an ongoing investigation, that a particular number requested is used in the commission of a crime.

The bill also mandates the registration of existing prepaid SIM card phone subscribers.

Failure to comply with this provision with the prescribed period shall lead to automatic deactivation of services, the bill says.