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Philippines: almost 15M SIM cards registered in first few days, calls to link to PhilID

Philippines: almost 15M SIM cards registered in first few days, calls to link to PhilID

More than 14 million SIM cards were linked to users’ ID in the opening days of the campaign, according to the Philippines’ National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) figures for the first nine days of registration, reports BusinessWorld.

Despite a technically rocky start on 27 December, reports The Inquirer, two million managed to register in the first two days. The first two weeks are considered a test phase. As of 5 January, the NTC site records 14.86 million registrations, or 8.79 percent of the 169 million total mobile subscriptions.

Registration was introduced via a new act in October 2022 with the aim of tackling scams and spam messaging. Mobile users have four months to register, until 26 April, although there is provision for a further 120-day extension. Unregistered SIMs will be deactivated.

Of the three mobile network operators, Globe has registered 7.27 percent (6.4 of 88 million) so far, Dito has registered 9.64 percent (1.3 of 13.1 million) and Smart has managed 10.6 percent (7.2 of 68 million).

Phone users can visit stores of their mobile operators to register or on smartphones via an app or website. They need to submit a selfie and photo of their government ID for biometric matching. Smart and Globe customers on contracts have already submitted their details and simply need to confirm them.

A long list of credentials are accepted, such as passport, national ID, social security ID, firearms license, voter ID, senior citizen card. Visitors will need to register SIMs with passports and proof of a return flight.

Government urged to accelerate PhilSys, link to SIM registration

CitizenWatch Philippines, a consumer rights and development network, has urged the government to speed up PhilID issuance via the biometric Philippine Identification System (PhilSys), to simplify SIM registration. Taking things further, the organization calls for PhilID to be linked to SIMs.

“The enforcement of the SIM Registration Act will also be facilitated by linking each SIM to a user’s PhilID making each call and SMS message traceable to the individual subscriber,” said group convener Orlando Oxales, quoted by The Inquirer.

CitizenWatch Philippines believes PhilSys can help accelerated digitization and economic growth in the country.

The PhilSys national digital identity project has been underway for four years and more than 76 million people have had their biometrics captured and 54 million PhilSys numbers have been generated. Card printing issues mean only 3 million ID credentials have been printed of which around 2 million have been collected. Authorities have switched to printing paper copies of the digital ID, of which 10 million have been issued. A downloadable version is being piloted.

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