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DICT identifying gaps in SIM card registration process —Sec. Uy

With only four days left before the SIM registration period ends, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) voiced openness to extending the deadline, admitting that gaps exist in the registration process.

Interviewed on Dobol B TV on Saturday, DICT Secretary Ivan John Uy said the agency will have a meeting on Monday, April 24, with public telecommunications entities (PTEs) and other stakeholders to find out why more than half of the number of subscribers still haven't registered their SIMs.

Last week, the DICT said it will not extend the April 26 SIM registration deadline “at this point” despite calls from telcos for an extension, to give more time for their subscriber to secure valid IDs required to have a successful registration.

“Sa Lunes, magkakaroon kami ng pagpupulong upang makuha ang mga statistics kung ilan na ang nakapagparehistro… Matignan kung ano ang talaga ‘yung mga problema bakit may ilan na hindi pa rin nakakapagparehistro,” Uy said.

“Kahit mag-extend tayo, kung hindi natin ma-identify ‘yung gap… Hindi magiging effective ‘yung extension… Dapat pagaralang mabuti tignan ang problema,” he said.

The DICT chief said “if ever we do make an extension,” the agency will already include adjustments in its rules to accommodate more demographics who have not yet registered their SIMs.

As of April 20, 2023, a total of 76,927,923 subscribers have registered their SIMs, equivalent to around 45% of the 168 million subscriber base nationwide.

The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has said it is not aiming for 100% SIM registration

Uy, likewise, said telcos said that a huge portion of the 168 million subscriber base are “disposable” SIMs which are used temporarily.

“Ang actual estimate nila ay close to 100 million ‘yung active SIMs… Kung ‘yan ang pagbabasehan, we have about 78 million to 79 million registered SIMS. We are hitting almost 80% registered,” he said.

He reiterated that the agency and the telcos will identify the “bigger concern” such as the lack of IDs and lack of connectivity in some areas.

“Even if we have an extension, kung hindi natin ma-address ‘yung rason kung bakit hindi sila makapagparehistro… ganun pa rin ang problema” [If the gaps in the registration process remained unaddressed, the problem will persist, and deadline extension won't be of any help], Uy said.

“Posibleng humanap tayo ng paraan na payagan silang makapag parehistro kung talagang hindi sila makakuha ng valid ID… perhaps any substitute document or something. We will be meeting on Monday to discuss that,” he added.

Under the SIM Card Registration Act, signed into law in October 2022, those who have SIMs have 180 days from the effectivity of the law to register their numbers, or until April 26, 2023.

The law also provides that the DICT can extend the deadline for another 120 days as it deems necessary. —LBG, GMA Integrated News