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DICT eyes removal of Facebook, TikTok of unregistered SIMs over extension

The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) is considering the removal of some services of unlisted SIM cards over the 90-day extension for their registration.

Information and Communications Technology Secretary Ivan John Uy said subscribers who would fail to register their SIM cards during the extension might encounter a "gradual" loss of phone services.

"We are exploring some options that will be available to us [to] incentivize our public to register," Uy said.

"We did not put those conditions in the first SIM card registration but because of our observation that people are not taking our deadline seriously, we are now exploring other options to incentivize registration," he added.

Uy said the DICT has been talking with the telcos as regards the registration process during the extension period.

"We will observe the rate of registration and after a certain period, we're seeing maybe 30 days or 60 days into registration, we will start deactivating some services on the SIM card," Uy said.

"Let's say after 60 days, you will lose your access to your Facebook accounts or your TikTok accounts. You can still use your phone, you can still call, you can still text and then after a certain period, you will lose your outgoing calls so that way, ramdam niyo kung ano effect na di kayo nagpaparehistro," he added.

President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. on Tuesday approved the 90-day extension of the mandatory SIM registration beyond the April 26 deadline.

As of Sunday, April 23, more than 82 million SIM cards have been registered or 49.31% of total active SIMs as of December 2022. At present, there are 168,016,400 total active SIMs in the Philippines.

Of the 82 million registered SIMs, more than 37 million are Globe subscribers, more than 39 million are Smart subscribers and over five million are Dito subscribers.

The DICT is looking to register 70% of active SIMs within the 90-day extension.

Systems down, no gov't IDs

Uy said it was not an excuse that the registration system was at times down in some days.

He said that telecommunication firms already developed the availability of their systems so that it would not be difficult for the public to register.

He also reminded the public that barangay IDs could be used to register SIM cards as some individuals do not possess any government IDs.

"In many of the barangays, once you go there to apply for a Barangay ID, you can also use their facility. The barangay captain or the barangay officials can register for you on your behalf using your mobile phone and accessing their data or accessing their Wi-Fi or internet service there," Uy said.

"So, that’s how liberal the ID system. It doesn’t have to be a driver’s license or a passport – a Barangay ID would suffice," he added.

Uy said the DICT already identified some of the areas where there was a "low turnout of registrants."

"So in the next 90 days, we will be concentrating on some of those islands and some of those communities where we will be deploying more people and more resources to those islands for the registration," Uy said. —NB, GMA Integrated News