THE National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) on Wednesday said that they were merely implementing the mandatory registration of the subscriber identification module (SIM) cards, after a petition was filed before the Supreme Court asking it to be declared as unconstitutional.
“Kami naman sa NTC, we are just implementing the task assigned to us by the law. So ini-implement lang namin kung ano ang nasa batas,” NTC Deputy Commissioner Jon Paulo Salvahan said in a television interview, referring to the SIM Card Registration Act.
(We at the NTC, we are just implementing the task assigned to us by the law. So we are implementing what is stated in the law)
Salvahan likewise said that they have yet to receive any copy of the said petition.
It will be recalled that on Monday, a group filed before the SC a petition to declare the law unconstitutional.
They cited that the law allegedly infringed Article III Sections 1, 2,3, and 11 of the 1987 Constitution.
According to their 59-page petition, the group asked the SC to immediately issue a temporary restraining order and/or writ of a preliminary injunction against the implementation of the law.
The group also said that the SC should order the public telecommunications entities to issue a cease and desist order from using, storing, transferring, and processing the information gathered on the register and to destroy the data already gathered.
The petitioners were the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, journalist Ronalyn Olea, Bayan Muna party-list Representative Eufemia Cullamat, and Bayan Secretary-General Renato Reyes, among others.
Likewise, they asked the government agencies like the NTC, the National Privacy Commission, and the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), as well as private telecommunication firms as respondents.
Meanwhile, Salvahan said that as of their data, they are now at 43.4% or 73,033,000 SIM cards have been registered.
The registration deadline is on April 26.
The NTC said that the number of the registrants have been steadily increasing as the deadline approaches.
“In recent days, nakita natin na may sharp increase in the number of registrants, perhaps dahil malapit na yung deadline ng registration,” he said.
(In recent days, we observed a sharp increase in the number of registrants perhaps because of the approaching deadline of the registration.)
The NTC is now working with other government agencies and local government units in order for them to set up facilitated SIM registration in remote areas.
Meanwhile, Salvahan urged those without proper identification cars to secure a barangay ID, which they said is the easiest to obtain among the 17 valid IDs.
On the matter of the request of the telecommunication firm for an extension of the SIM registration, Salvahan said they have yet to make a decision about it.
Catherine R. Cueto