Senate discusses Cellphone Registration Act

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(File photo)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Millions of prepaid sim card users may soon have to register their cards if the Cellphone Registration Act is passed.

Sen. Vicente "Tito" Sotto III, the chairman of the Committee on Public Services, presented the Senate version of the Cellphone Registration Act on Tuesday (August 11).

Sotto said that technology can be a double-edged invention, with prepaid sim cards often being used in cellphone-triggered bombs, scams, and other crimes.

Valenzuela City Rep. Sherwin Gatchalian, the principal author of the Cellphone Registration Act in the Lower House, added that the bill will ask telecom companies to submit data on direct dealers to the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC).

According to the NTC, there are 111 million prepaid sim card users while three percent are postpaid.

Gatchalian added that once the bill is passed, these prepaid sim card users may have to register their cellphone numbers.

Telecommunication officials supported both versions of the bill, but they are unsure of how the government will secure the personal database of information and protect it from being leaked.

PLDT, Smart, and Digitel said that data privacy commission should be in the guidelines. Meanwhile, the representative from Globe and TM Telecoms, Atty. Rodolfo Salalima, opposed the bill, citing the right to privacy. The company said mandatory registration will not solve crimes and prevent terrorism.