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President Duterte vetoes SIM Card Registration Act

President Rodrigo Duterte has vetoed the Sim Card Registration Act, according to a statement of Acting Presidential Spokesperson Martin Andanar today, April 15. The proposed legislation, consolidating House Bill No. 5793 and Senate Bill No. 2395, was passed by both houses of Congress last February 2. It aims to deter “the proliferation of sim-card aided crimes” by requiring all public telecom entities (PTEs) to register sim cards prior to sale. It also mandates all existing users with active services to register their sim cards within a year of the law’s effectivity.

President Duterte vetoes Sim Card Registration Act

In Andanar’s statement, President Duterte “noted that the inclusion of social media providers in the registration requirement was not part of the original version of the bill.” In addition to the need for more thorough study, the president observed that the measure may threaten constitutional rights and result to dangerous state intrusion “without providing proper guidelines and definitions.” Citing free speech and the right to individual privacy, the Office of the President nonetheless lauds the efforts of Congress “to address increasing incidence of cybercrimes and ICT-related offenses.”

The inclusion of social media providers in the registration requirement was not part of the original version of the bill.

Earlier, the Philippine National Police assured that the Sim Card Registration Act would not infringe on subscribers’ privacy even as it mandates collection of personal information. Instead, it would be beneficial in resolving cybercrime. This after a number of groups called out the potential effects of the legislative measure on human rights.

“If you remember before, hindi pa uso ang mga cellphones, we use landline right and there is always a public directory that is accessible to all so what’s the difference? It’s the same except that we do this over our mobile phones. So wala naman siguro tayo naging problema before when it comes to privacy,” Lieutenant Michelle Sabino, spokesperson of the PNP Anti-Cybercrime Group (ACG), said in a presser last March 30.

Further readings: What you need to know about the SIM Card Registration Act.

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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 zero zero says:

    What a weird way to end the article: the bill was vetoed not for the SIM card part but for the inclusion of social media, and the white/yellow pages analogy just doesn’t hold up for the latter.

    Instead, why not end with the links to the versions of the bill before and after the social media clauses were added? That way, the readers can decide whether the additions were added “without providing proper guidelines and definitions” or not.

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