Sim card registration law needed — Sen. Win Gatchalian

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MANILA, Philippines — Senator Win Gatchalian on Saturday stressed the need for a SIM card registration law to run after perpetrators of hoax messages on mobile phones in relation to the Taal disaster.

Gatchalian said the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) repeatedly flagged the spread of false and unverified information, which causes public panic and confusion.

Gatchalian said mandatory registration for prepaid SIM cards will make it easier for authorities to track the perpetrators of fake news and make them accountable for their actions.

“We witnessed these past days the government is exerting efforts to ensure the safety of our people. But there some who have been spreading wrong information that create confusion and worries,” he said.

Gatchalian cited Republic Act 10639 or the Free Mobile Disaster Alerts Act which imposes a fine of up to P10,000 and imprisonment of up to six months for persons who spread false or misleading data or information in times of calamities.

Last year, Gatchalian filed Senate Bill 176 or the Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) Card Registration Act.

Under the proposed measure, end users of prepaid SIM cards shall be required to present a valid ID and sign a control-numbered registration form issued by the service provider of the purchased SIM card.

Copies of the accomplished forms shall be furnished to the same service provider and the National Telecommunications Commission.

In filing the bill, Gatchalian lamented the unabated rate by which SIM cards flood markets, which he called a magnet for nefarious and illegal activities from untraceable numbers.

Gatchalian also took note that SIM card registration is mandatory in countries like Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Brunei.

Meanwhile, he called on the public to be more vigilant on the messages and information they receive concerning Taal Volcano’s activity.

He also cited the need to boost digital literacy skills to combat the spread of disinformation. (STACY ANG/IAMIGO/Currentph.com)

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