Yes, We Absolutely Need SIM Registration Extension

Yes, We Absolutely Need SIM Registration Extension

President Marcos Signs SIM Card Registration Act

In six days, anyone who hasn’t gone through the SIM registration process will have their number de-activated by the government. There are no ifs or buts about it: the DICT has said numerous times that there not be a SIM registration extension for the Philippines, despite the fact that the law was only signed in October last year, and with the IRR released in December. That left Smart, DITO and Globe a mere 121 days to mount a massive information and registration drive to a country that’s spread out among 7,100 islands.

Frankly, that is absolutely not enough time, and anyone who has ever traveled outside of Manila knows this. For one thing, there are still people out in the barrios in the literal mountains (the mountain provinces come to mind) that don’t even know that you NEED to register your SIM cards, let alone have the connectivity or the know-how to actually facilitate registration. While everyone in Manila probably has smartphones that can easily access sites where they can quickly and easily upload the necessary requirements, not all Filipinos have phones that can go online, or even have data connectivity. This should have already been obvious to the DICT and the NTC when teachers were complaining about this very issue when the DoE tried to implement distance learning during the pandemic, but I digress.

And it’s not like it’s easy for Filipinos to get identification papers to register their SIMs. While it’s a snap for people living in Manila to get their birth certificates and other forms of identification right to their doorstep, there are people in the Philippines who literally have to come down from the mountains or commute from their villages to neighboring urban centers to get their IDs processed. Let’s not even start with all the red tape that people have to go through to apply to get these documents if they don’t have one already.

The point here is that the government is rushing SIM registration for god knows what reason when there’s really no particular reason to stick with the April 26 deadline. It’s an arbitrary deadline put in when the law was written, a deadline that could very easily be moved to facilitate SIM registration extension to accommodate Filipinos who depend on their long-time numbers for their livelihoods.

I have to reiterate: I do not understand why the government is rushing SIM registration, especially when Smart, DITO, and Globe are all telling them that they need an extension especially when you consider the number of people who HAVE registered vs the people who haven’t. Smart has barely broken the 50% mark when it comes to the number of subscribers that have registered their SIMs, and still have around 45% to go. Globe is even worse at 38.2%, and DITO is just 36.08%.

That’s a large portion of the population that the DICT and NTC are cutting off from mobile services just to stick with the original deadline. And while I understand that there is a reason why deadlines exist, you shouldn’t just stubbornly stick to it when it means cutting off a large number of people from something that facilitates their day-to-day activities especially when you left them very little time and few resources to accomplish it. PLDT and Smart First Vice President and Head of Group Corporate Communications Cathy Yang correctly pointed out that when Indonesia and India enacted their SIM registration push, their governments gave citizens 1 to 2 years to comply. In my opinion, the short, 121-day registration period for the Philippines looks incredibly comical, insensitive, and heartless, in comparison.

I really hope that the government reconsiders the appeal for a SIM registration extension. Any law should always take its impact on its citizens’ daily lives into account when being implemented at the end of the day.


1 Comment

  • Rafael , April 21, 2023

    Kaya sanay ang pilipino sa last minute, snay bk my extension kaya wg muna. wala b tayo desiplina sa oras ng deadline. trabaho ng mga brgy official lalo na sa mga far province ang information drive tungkol sa sim registration.

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