SIM Card Registration Deadline Extended Until July 25, 2023

Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla announced on Tuesday - April 25, 2023 - that the registration for SIM cards will be extended by another 90 days, until July 25, 2023

However, subscribers who fail to register by the initial deadline of April 26, 2023 will have limited access to services until they finally register.

Remulla stated that most telecommunications companies will cut off their services, resulting in social media unavailability for unregistered users.

SIM Card Registration Philippines
Mobile consumers who won't register their SIM Cards will have limited access to services. This limit will only be lifted upon registration on or before July 25, 2023.

In response to the extension, Senator Grace Poe called for improved information dissemination of the SIM Registration Act (RA 11934) to eliminate confusion and concerns among registrants.

Senator Poe, the head of the Senate Committee on Public Services and sponsor of the bill, welcomed the decision to extend the SIM registration period, saying that it will help address the confusion and concerns of registrants regarding the law.

She emphasized that SIM cards will still be available in local retailers and sari-sari stores even past the registration deadline, but users must register before activating their new SIMs.

She also noted that the purpose of SIM registration is to promote responsible use and prevent scammers and criminals from abusing SIMs. It is not meant to punish legitimate SIM subscribers, especially those living in remote areas. She reminded that lawmakers had foreseen the need to extend the registration period to accommodate all the more than 168 million SIM subscribers when the bill was being deliberated.

According to the National Telecommunications Commission's data as of April 23, 49.31 percent or 82,845,397 SIM cards have been registered. The breakdown is as follows:

DITO - 38.73 percent or 5,796,175
Globe - 42.77 percent or 37,099,437
SMART - 60.25 percent or 39,949,785

Poe emphasized the importance of telecom companies reaching out to more subscribers by going to the grassroots level. She pointed out that since these companies have been earning vast profits from their services, they should have the necessary resources and obligation to track down their SIM users and expand the opportunity for registration.

While there have been efforts to conduct remote registration in some locations, Poe noted that more areas need to be covered, particularly those in key regions such as the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, based on data from the NTC. Poe also urged the DICT to investigate the continuing proliferation of spam messages despite the ongoing SIM registration process.

Two days before the deadline for SIM card registration, the DICT and related agencies held discussions with officials from the three public telecommunications companies in the country: Globe, Smart, and DITO. The purpose of the meeting was to address issues that registrants are facing, such as difficulties in obtaining government-issued IDs and documents, and to improve the SIM registration process.

DICT reiterated that only one of the 17 accepted government-issued IDs and documents is needed to proceed with the registration.

According to DICT, "The increasing number of registrants in the past few days is a clear indication that Filipinos share the desire to eradicate online and text scams once and for all."

RA 11934, which was the first measure signed into law by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on October 10, 2022, aims to fight scams being made through text and online messages. On December 27, 2022, the 180-day SIM card registration began and was supposed to end on April 26, 2023.

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