MANILA Senator Sherwin Gatchalian on Wednesday urged the Senate to prioritize the passage of the SIM Card Registration Act after the House of Representatives approved its own version (House Bill No. 7233) earlier this week.
"The House has done its part. Now it's up to the Senate to pass the bill and get it on the President's desk for signature," Gatchalian, the author of Senate Bill No. 203, said.
The senator said he is hoping tnat the proposed measure will be taken up immediately as the bill enjoys strong support in the Senate.
As early as 2016, seven versions of the bill had already been authored by ten senators � Senators Joseph Victor Ejercito, Dick Gordon, Panfilo Lacson, Loren Legarda, Manny Pacquiao, Vicente Sotto III, Joel Villanueva, Cynthia Villar, Juan Miguel Zubiri and Gatchalian.
The seven bills were referred to the Senate Committees on Public Services and Trade, respectively, where they remain pending up to now.
"I hope we can pass this law in time for the May 2019 elections. It will help us clamp down on voter intimidation and violence that is facilitated through the widespread availability of unregistered prepaid SIM cards," Gatchalian said.
Senate Bill No. 203, one of Gatchalian's priority bills, would require buyers of prepaid SIM cards to present a valid photo ID upon purchase for registration purposes.
Meanwhile, current owners of prepaid SIM cards would be required to register their mobile numbers under their name within 180 days from the law's effective date.
Active prepaid SIM cards which are not registered within the 180-day period would be automatically scheduled for deactivation.
Although there were concerns raised regarding privacy issues, Gatchalian assured the public that their cellular information would still be kept private in accordance with the constitutional right to privacy and applicable laws. (Senate PR)
Source: Philippine News Agency