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DICT urged to drum up support for SIM card registration bill

MANILA, July 18 — A senator on Tuesday called on the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) to drum up support for the proposed measure seeking the mandatory registration of prepaid SIM cards.

“We’re calling on DICT Secretary Rodolfo Salalima to push for the approval of this proposal,” Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian said in a press statement.

Gatchalian is the author of Senate Bill No. 203 or the “SIM Card Registration Act” which requires all prospective buyers of prepaid SIM cards to present a valid photo ID before they can complete their purchase. Also under his measure, old SIM cards should be registered within 180 days from the effectivity of the proposed measure.

“I remember that during his confirmation hearings, Secretary Salalima assured members of the Commission on Appointments that he would support this bill. Let’s wait for their action,” Gatchalian said.

Gatchalian, chair of the Senate Committee on Economic Affairs, said that he is hopeful that Salalima would exercise his duties as DICT secretary despite his close ties to telecom insiders.

“Telecom industry players have been the biggest stumbling block to the approval of this proposed scheme. With Secretary Salalima now at the helm of the DICT, I hope he would succeed where legislators have so far failed — to change the minds of telecoms honchos and make them agree with the proposal,” Gatchalian said.

Prior to his appointment to the DICT, Salalima served as Chief Legal Counsel and Senior Vice President for Corporate and Regulatory Affairs of Globe Telecom.

He also formerly worked as Vice President and head of Legal and Human Relations at the International Communications Corporation, later renamed as Bayantel; and as a Board Director and Corporate and Chief Counsel of Radio Communications of the Philippines (RCPI). He was also a former president of the Philippine Chamber of Telecommunications Operators (PCTO).

The senator recalled that as Globe’s legal counsel, Salalima objected to the mandatory registration of prepaid SIM cards noting that it would greatly reduce the sales of prepaid SIM cards and affect the income of telcos.

Due to intense lobbying by telecom players against its approval, lawmakers have found it difficult to get majority support for the proposed measure’s enactment into law. (Azer N. Parrocha/PNA)

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