THE House of Representatives has approved in third and final reading the bill seeking the registration of mobile SIM cards.

House Bill 14 gained 250 yes votes, six no and one abstention.

The measure orders public telecommunications entities (PTE) or direct sellers to require the end user of a SIM card to present a valid ID with photo as proof of identity, as well as to accomplish a control-numbered registration form that contains the subscriber’s personal information.

House information and communications technology panel chairman and the principal sponsor of the bill Navotas Representative Tobias Tiangco said the measure will be a deterrent to the proliferation of text scams, which put the consumers’ right to privacy and security at risk.

“Crimes are not just perpetuated by using a SIM card. What we would like to concentrate on is crimes involving SIM cards. As to the question of the crime rate of those countries, it would not reflect on the law’s effectiveness," Tiangco said earlier.

“Let us look at our daily experience. We get more phishing and smishing text messages than those from people we know,” he added.

Tiangco said the bill had a confidentiality clause amid concerns on data breaches and identity theft once the measure is passed.

Meanwhile, a counterpart measure of the bill in the Senate was also approved on second reading.

Senate Bill 1310 was sponsored by Senate Public Services Committee chairperson Grace Poe.

Poe accepted the proposal of Senate Minority Leader Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III to change the bill's title to "An Act Mandating the Registration of Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) for Electronic Devices, Regulating for this Purpose Its Registration and Use."

She said the measure is intended to help law enforcers in capturing those who take advantage of the vulnerability of the public and to stop the proliferation of SIM or electronic communication-aided crimes, such as but not limited to terrorism; text scams; unsolicited, indecent or obscene messages; bank fraud; and massive disinformation.

Last April, former President Rodrigo Duterte vetoed the SIM Card Registration bill due to the inclusion of social media providers in the registration requirement that was not part of the bill's original version. (SunStar Philippines)