Poe pushes SIM card registration bill passage vs text scams

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MANILA — Sen. Grace Poe on Wednesday stated that the incoming 19th Congress members must immediately approve the SIM Card Registration Bill to effectively prevent text scams.

“Unless a law is passed, the bombardment of unwanted text messages will persist. We need more than band-aid solutions to these unrelenting scams,” Poe said in a radio interview.

According to the senator, she would refile her original bill that would make the registration of all SIM cards a prerequisite to their sale.

“The SIM Card Registration Bill will pave the way for us to counter the rampant text scams. The problem is scammers are now proliferating, offering jobs that when you give information, you are also being fleeced,” she said in Filipino.

Poe warned that it is difficult to catch the scammers as they use prepaid cards that are unregistered.

The bill was passed by the outgoing 18th Congress, but President Duterte rejected it, noting possible unconstitutional provisions such as social media registration.

Earlier, Malacañang stated such provisions may “give rise to a situation of dangerous state intrusion and surveillance, threatening many constitutionally protected rights.”

All existing prepaid SIM card subscribers with active services under Poe’s bill in the last Congress must register within 180 days from the effectivity of the proposed law.

Telecommunication companies will be authorized to deactivate SIM card numbers that have not been registered within the prescribed period.

Without the protection provided by the measure, Poe said, the public becomes vulnerable to fraudulent transactions that place their sensitive data such as bank accounts, passwords, profiles, among other information, at risk.

The senator bewailed that text scams have remained rampant despite efforts by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) and telecommunications companies to warn the public against text scams and make them block or report the messages.

The NTC does not seem able to handle the numerous complaints, she stated. Though operators may be able to block the SIM cards, the scammers will simply buy new ones.

Poe noted that she plans to discuss it with her fellow senators in the incoming 19th Congress to rally support for the measure to help expedite deliberations.

According to the senator, they would talk if the provision on social media registration can be incorporated anew in the bill or can be a subject of a separate legislation.

House committees to hold hearings during break

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Spread the loveMANILA – The House of Representatives has authorized for its committees to conduct hearings during the five-week congressional break, extending until late April.