THE Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) said on Saturday expressed the possibility of extending the subscriber identification module registration, but noted that they have to identify the “gaps” first to show such compelling reason to go beyond the April 26 deadline.
In a radio interview, DICT Secretary Ivan John Uy also said that they will meet with the public telecommunications entities (PTEs) and other stakeholders in order to determine as to why more than half of their subscribers have not registered their SIMs yet.
Earlier, the DICT said that the deadline of the April 26 will not be extended, despite appeals by the telecom companies Smart, Globe and Dito, saying that the government should give their subscribers more time to secure a valid IDs required to have a successful registration.
“Sa Lunes, magkakaroon kami ng pagpupulong upang makuha ang mga statistics kung ilan na ang nakapagparehistro… Matignan kung ano ang talaga ‘yung mga problema bakit may ilan na hindi pa rin nakakapagparehistro,” Uy said.
“Kahit mag-extend tayo, kung hindi natin ma-identify ‘yung gap… Hindi magiging effective ‘yung extension… Dapat pagaralang mabuti tignan ang problema,” he said
(On Monday, we will have a meeting to get the statistics if how many more have not yet registered. We will look what is the real problem why some still have failed to register. If we extend, we haven’t identified the gap, then the extension will not be effective. The problem should be studied carefully)
Secretary Uy said that “if ever we do make an extension,” they will now include the adjustments within their rules so as to accommodate more demographics who have not yet registered their SIMs.
As of April 20, 2023, a total of 76,927,923 subscribers have registered their SIMs, equivalent to around 45% of the 168 million subscriber base nationwide
Earlier the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) admitted that they are not aiming for a 100% registration.
This was echoed by Secretary Uy, who said that even the telcos admitted that a huge portion of the 168 million subscriber base are “disposable” SIMs which are used temporarily.
“Ang actual estimate nila ay close to 100 million ‘yung active SIMs… Kung ‘yan ang pagbabasehan, we have about 78 million to 79 million registered SIMS. We are hitting almost 80% registered,” he said.
(Their actual estimate is close to 100 million active SIMs. If we will base that figure then we have 78 to 79 million registered SIMs. We are hitting almost 80% registered)
He added that during the meeting, they will likewise try to pinpoint the “bigger concern” that include the lack of IDs and the connectivity in some areas.
“Even if we have an extension, kung hindi natin ma-address ‘yung rason kung bakit hindi sila makapagparehistro… ganun pa rin ang problema,” Uy said.
“Posibleng humanap tayo ng paraan na payagan silang makapag parehistro kung talagang hindi sila makakuha ng valid ID… perhaps any substitute document or something. We will be meeting on Monday to discuss that,” he added.
(Even if we have an extension, if we will not be able to address the reason why they are not registering, the problem remains. We might look for other means on how they will register if they really cannot secure a government ID)
Under the SIM Card Registration Act, signed into law in October 2022, those who have SIMs have 180 days from the effectivity of the law to register their numbers, or until April 26, 2023.
The law also provides that the DICT can extend the deadline for another 120 days as it deems necessary.
Catherine R. Cueto