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Telcos offer support to save SIM Card Registration Act

Telecom companies in the Philippines have pledged their support to rework and ensure the passage of the SIM Card Registration Act, which was earlier vetoed by President Rodrigo Duterte. This comes after a number of lawmakers, including Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto and Senate Committee on Public Services Chair Mary Grace Poe Llamanzares, have expressed their intent to pursue the rescue of the legislative measure.

“Sabi ko: ‘Ayaw ninyo ‘yung internet, with your permission, ipaalam mo kay Presidente, I will overturn the veto. That means, I can get a two-thirds vote of the Senate to overturn it. Ang problema ngayon, we need the imprimatur of the President for the House to overturn also,” Senator Sotto said after calling up Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea to discuss possible strategies to pass the legislation within Duterte’s term.

On her part, Senator Poe said in a statement, “Our laws and jurisprudence confirm that freedom of expression is not absolute, as in the cases of obscenity, libel, or when public safety and order are at stake.”

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For telcos, meanwhile, PLDT Chief Legal Counsel Marilyn Aquino noted that the social media provision included in the measure passed by both Houses was “something hard to operationalize.” Nonetheless, their commitment to have a framework governing sim card registration remains.

“The plan is to work with regulators so that we can share information on what has happened as well as what is happening in other countries so that we don’t make the same mistakes. That was the plan before the veto happened, and we will continue to do that,” Aquino told reporters at the sidelines of a recent event in Makati.

PLDT and Smart has also expressed their dedication to share best practices from their own research and experience.

“Smart has long been in the forefront of consumer online protection and has been actively pushing programs toward this pursuit,” PLDT and Smart Communications President and CEO Alfredo Panlilio stressed in a statement released yesterday, April 21, “This includes initiatives that keep our customers safe from scams and fraud, activities that uphold the highest standards of data privacy, and programs that promote safe online spaces for all, especially for children.”

In addition, Globe stands ready to help the vetoed legislation push through.

“Globe reiterates its commitment to support the government in its fight against fraud, terrorism and other crimes through the enforcement of existing laws,” Globe General Legal Counsel Froilan Vicente Castelo said in response to a BusinessWorld query over the previous weekend.

To recall, various groups have raised their concerns regarding privacy and surveillance issues which the Sim Card Registration Act may entail. One of them, Democracy.Net.PH, have an ongoing Change.org petition to block the measure. It has received nearly 85,000 signatures out of the petition’s 150,000 target as of writing.

“The law is overly vague. It does not provide the definition of “social media”, which can include blogs, business networks, collaborative projects, forums, photo sharing services, product/service review platforms, social gaming, social networks, video sharing, and virtual worlds according to experts,” the petition said.

The group, which viewed the law as an encompassing threat to individual rights and safety, has also lauded the president’s veto.

“The President vetoed it not only because the constitutional defects were glaring, but because the passage of this law posed a real and serious threat to our national security,” Democracy.Net.PH said in a statement.

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Avatar for Arius Lauren Raposas

A public servant with a heart for actively supporting technology and futures thinking, responding accordingly to humanity's needs and goals, increasing participation of people in issues concerning them, upholding rights and freedoms, and striving further to achieve more despite our limited capacities. In everything, to God be all the glory.

1 Response

  1. Avatar for Ricky Tadios Ricky Tadios says:

    Considering the number of prepaid users and offices of telco providers and their locations, it surely will cause additional hardship on the part of prepaid users.

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