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Trade chief Pascual backs extension of SIM card registration

Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual on Thursday backed the extension of SIM card registration as he explained its significance on digital transactions.

At a Palace press briefing, Pascual was asked if there would be a negative impact on the economy if there would be a mass deactivation of SIM cards which will not be registered by the deadline on April 26, 2023.

"You mean, if the deadline is imposed and not all SIMS are registered? I think it’s a major concern especially based on what I commented on earlier. So, that has to be evaluated, you know by the telcos and by the concerned agencies in charge of ICT," Pascual said.

"I will go for it (extension of SIM card registration). I don’t know the official position of the concerned department. But the campaign has to be done and we have to make sure that the registration happens, you know. It’s like voter registration, you know. We need the voters to register for us to exercise the democratic process. And here, for security, we need the SIMs registered," he added.

Pascual stressed that SIM card registration is very important as the country moves towards digital payments.

"And digital payments are what we need to happen to further promote and develop our MSMEs because that is how they can facilitate accessing the market and being able to sell online," Pascual said.

"If you are dealing with payments, you have to be sure that the communication is coming from a known source rather than from an unregistered SIM," he added.

The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) earlier insisted that the April 26 deadline remains.

The DICT announced after receiving pleas from public telecommunications entities (PTEs) Globe Telecom Inc., Smart Communications, and DITO Telecommunity Corp. to extend the SIM registration deadline.

As of April 17, 2023, only 43.47% of the 168 million mobile subscriber base nationwide have registered their SIMs or subscriber identity module, the DICT said. —NB, GMA Integrated News