MANILA (Philippine Daily Inquirer/Asia News Network): The government must now step up its crackdown on phishing scams and fraudsters after the registration period for old subscriber identity module (SIM) cards has ended, Senator Grace Poe said on Wednesday (July 26).
Poe, in a statement, said that there should be no room anymore for fraudsters to continue phishing scams, as the government will deactivate SIM cards that are still unregistered after the deadline last Tuesday, July 25.
“The end of SIM registration signals the beginning of [an] intensified crackdown on mobile phone scammers,” Poe, author and sponsor of the Republic Act 11934 or the SIM Registration Act, said.
“It is a challenge to law enforcers to show how violators of the SIM Registration Law can be penalised,” she added.
According to Poe, since the SIM Registration Act arms law enforcement agencies like the Philippine National Police (PNP) with mechanisms to monitor mobile phone-related crimes, officers should now quickly respond to complaints from the public.
“The PNP is no longer grope in the dark when someone reports the incidents of text scams. Along with this, we expect authorities’ quick response regarding complaints so that the public would feel safe.”
House member and Camarines Sur 2nd District Rep. LRay Villafuerte — who also authored a bill that led to the SIM Registration Act — issued the same sentiments, urging authorities to double efforts to fight cybercrime now that the registration period is over.
“Now that the SIM registration period is over, it is time for our authorities to prove their true mettle as law enforcers by taking down violators of this new law plus the related 2012 law penalizing cybercrimes to finally stop nefarious groups and individuals from duping legit users of celfones (cellphones) and other mobile communication devices,” he noted.
Poe, however, asked the government and telecommunication companies to continue assisting people who have legitimate reasons why they missed the registration deadline.
“We must give [a] chance to those who only lacked the means to register while denying those who have vile motives,” she said.
On Tuesday, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) said the government would no longer extend the registration period for old and existing SIM cards.
As of July 24, 105.9 million, or 63 percent of active SIM cards, have been registered.
The SIM Registration Act was mentioned by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. in his second State of the Nation Address last Monday, underscoring it is the first law he signed since he understands the need to protect Filipinos from cyber threats.
Marcos signed it last Oct 10, 2022. After it was implemented, an initial deadline was set for April 26, but the government chose to extend it for 90 more days.