5 days to go: NTC-Davao urges SIM card owners to beat registration deadline

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 21 April) – The National Telecommunications Commission – Davao Region (NTC-Davao) urged the public on Friday to register their subscriber identity module (SIM) cards before the April 26 deadline, as failure to do so will lead to automatic deactivation effective 12:01 a.m. of April 27.

In an interview over Davao City Disaster Radio (DCDR 87.5), NTC-Davao director Nelson Cañete said the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) has declined the request of telecommunication companies (telcos) to extend the SIM card registration beyond April 26, although an extension of up to 120 days is allowed under Republic Act 11934 or the SIM Registration Act.

As of Friday, he said that the number of SIM cards registered was estimated at 75 million out of 170 million nationwide.

In a statement released on Wednesday, the DICT encouraged subscribers to register as the deadline draws near, warning them that “non-registration will result in the deactivation of their SIMs and eSIMs, barring them from receiving and sending calls and text messages and accessing mobile applications and digital wallets.”

It said registering SIM cards “will provide law enforcement agencies the necessary tools to crack down on perpetrators who use SIMs for their crimes, consistent with the declared policy of the law.”

He encouraged mobile phone users to seek help from their relatives or the nearest telco outlets, barangays or offices of the NTC and DICT to assist them in registering their SIM cards.

He said the NTC-Davao continues to hold SIM card registration caravan in coordination with the telcos across the region to assist subscribers in far-flung barangays to register their SIM cards.

He said the caravan visited the municipalities of Boston and Cateel last Wednesday, Caraga and Baganga last Thursday, and Taragona and Manay, Davao Oriental on Friday.

He said the agency has lined up similar activities in Carmen and the Island Garden City of Samal, Davao del Norte on Monday and Wednesday, respectively, and Pantukan, Davao de Oro on Tuesday.

Cañete said the agency is going house-to-house in different communities to reach out more unregistered subscribers, particularly those persons with disabilities and senior citizens.

He said that one of the intentions of the SIM card registration is to prevent scams on mobile phones and allow enforcers to determine the persons behind those fraudulent activities.

He also warned the public to be cautious in disclosing their personal information.

The DICT assured the public that the “SIM Registration Act places primacy on the fundamental rights of Filipinos and is replete with safeguards to ensure the confidentiality and security of user data.”

Section 9 provides that “any information and data obtained in the registration process shall be treated as absolutely confidential and shall not be disclosed to any person, except in the following instances:  in compliance with a law obligating the telcos to disclose information in accordance with the provisions of Data Privacy Act, in compliance with a court order or legal process upon finding of probable cause, when telcos receive subpoena from a competent authority pursuant to an investigation based on a sworn complaint that a specific mobile number was or is being used as a means to commit a malicious, fraudulent, or unlawful act, and with written consent of the subscribers.” (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)