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Senate bill pushes SIM card registration

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As the digital industry shifts to high gear and online transactions have been the norm since the coronavirus pandemic struck last year, it has become a necessity to strengthen electronic commerce laws, according to a report by Philippine News Agency.

Senate Bill No. 2395, or the SIM Card Registration Act, mandates the registration of the subscriber identity module card before releasing to the buyer.

Bill co-sponsor Senator Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa said now is the right time to pass the measure to prevent unscrupulous individuals from taking advantage of the e-commerce platform.

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"While we enjoy the privilege of the e-commerce platform, there are some who suffer due to the irresponsible acts of others. Despite the hardship brought about by the pandemic, we have heard of several news involving scammers who use the e-commerce platform to make undue advantage especially with our hardworking food delivery riders," he said in his co-sponsorship speech on Tuesday.

He recalled that in 2020, he learned of the story of 10 riders who delivered food amounting to PHP20,000 to a subdivision in Las Piñas City.

The supposed recipient denied placing the order, made through a food delivery application.

"Sadly, when these instances happen, there is no way we could identify the perpetrator and thus, our delivery riders are left with no choice but to bear the burden of losing their hard-earned money," dela Rosa said.

The senator warned that violence also happens with SIM cards as terrorists use mobile phones as bomb triggers.

He cited that on Jan. 27, 2019, security footage in the twin-bombing incident in Jolo, Sulu showed one of the suspects holding a mobile phone that triggered the church blasts.

The Dabawenyo senator also recalled that on Sept. 4, 2016, a blast in Davao City used a mobile phone to trigger an improvised explosive device detonation while on Jan. 26, 2011, five people were killed in Manila when a mortar, also triggered by a mobile phone, was detonated in a bus.

"With the swift innovation of technology comes the speed of scam innovation brought about by scammers and perpetrators of online frauds. Nakakalungkot man isipin (It is sad that to think) that there are still those who take advantage of the situation by creating fake accounts or using fake names and hiding behind the anonymity of the prepaid mobile number to carry out these crimes and prohibited acts," he said.

He underscored that once the prepaid SIM card is disposed of, there is no more way for investigators to identify the perpetrator.

"With the proposed measure, SIM card registration shall now be mandatory as a prerequisite for the sale thereof, including all existing SIM card subscribers with active services who shall likewise be required to register with their respective Public Telecommunications Entity," he added.

SIM cards acquired prior to the enactment of the law must still be registered or they will be deactivated while minors will not be allowed to purchase one unless accompanied by a legal guardian.


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