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SIM Registration Bill now up for Marcos' signature

The SIM Registration Bill only needs President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.'s signature to become a law.

This developed after the Senate and the House of Representatives on Wednesday ratified the bicameral conference committee report on the disagreeing provisions of the proposed measure.

Senator Grace Poe, co-chairperson of the bicameral panel, reported the highlights of the report during the session on Wednesday.

According to Poe, the bicameral panel agreed to use the Senate version as the working draft but with numerous reconciled provisions.

Among the provisions that the Senate and House of Representatives contingents agreed upon is the dropping of the term "SIM card" from the bill.

"Innovation on mobile technology is fast-paced and our law must be able to accommodate all present and future variations of SIMs," Poe said.

Earlier, Poe explained that the Senate version of the bill only indicated "SIM Registration" as there are so-called "e-SIMs."

The bicameral conference committee also adopted the Senate framework on registration which goes directly through the public telecommunications entities' platform as a prerequisite to the activation of a SIM.

Poe said it will not only pose less risk of data breach but it will also place less burden on small-scale resellers who may not have the proper training to handle personal information.

The bicameral conference committee report retained the 180-day registration period, the registration of a SIM by a minor through a parent or guardian, and all the safeguards on the SIM Register.

The lawmakers also agreed to improve the bill by specifying a non-exhaustive list of identification cards with photo which can be presented during the registration.

According to Poe, this is part of their commitment to make the registration process as clearly-outlined and as seamless as possible.

The bicameral panel also clarified the documentary requirements for foreign nationals who purchase local SIMs to make the Philippine tourism and business environment as friendly as possible to foreign visitors.

Further, the bicam contingents agreed that the data of existing postpaid subscribers should already be included in the SIM Register to ease the process.

To ensure that residents in remote areas may register their SIMs, Poe said the final version of the bill will require the PTEs to establish necessary registration facilities in far-flung areas within 60 days from the effectivity of the measure.

"Wala dapat maiiwan (No one should be left behind). The SIM registration process should be inclusive and accessible especially for those who may have limited access to the internet, and the burden to make this happen is on the telcos who have the capacity and resources to make this happen," she said.

Lastly, Poe said they amended the confidentiality clause of the measure and agreed that SIM registration data can only be disclosed through a court order upon finding of probable cause.

In the 18th Congress, the bill was vetoed by former President Rodrigo Duterte due to the provision on social media registration. —AOL/VBL, GMA News