GORDON’S BILL TO DETER 911 PRANK CALLERS

The Philippine National Police activated the nationwide 911 hotline on the first day of August, as it earlier committed. From midnight to 7 am, the PNP monitoring center manned by 45 agents recorded 2,475 calls. Of the total, 304 or 12% were prank calls while 1,119 or 45% were dropped calls.

With over of the calls being prank and dropped calls received by agents manning Hotline 911 during the first seven hours of the nationwide hotline’s operation, Senator Richard J. Gordon pointed out that now there is even more need for the passage of his SIM Card Registration bill.

“We can’t have prank calls and dropped calls congesting our emergency hotline so much so that legitimate callers would find it hard to get through. I have the solution for this – my proposed measure which seeks to require the registration of both post-paid and prepaid SIM cards. With SIM cards registered, prank callers will be deterred because they can easily be identified and tracked down,” he said.

Last June, Gordon filed Senate Bill No. 105 or the SIM Card Registration Act, which aims to deter crime and enhance peace and order in the country by requiring the registration of both post-paid and prepaid SIM cards in mobile phones.

“Mobile phones are useful and convenient tools of modern life. While mobile phones have brought speed and efficiency to our transactions, there are individuals who take advantage of this modern technology to commit crimes faster and with greater facility. When used maliciously, these become dangerous tools of crime,” he said.

Gordon cited as example, criminals who commit kidnapping, estafa, and other crimes can easily consummate their unlawful activities with the use of prepaid SIM cards in mobile phones. He added this does not allow law enforcers to identify these violators and hold them for investigation.

The senator stressed that lawless elements must not be granted the privilege of using mobile phones with anonymity to achieve their crimes. “There is a need to require the registration of all SIM Cards in mobile phones both prepaid and postpaid. This will promote responsibility and accountability in the use of SIM Cards in mobile phones as well as provide better law enforcement capability in protecting the public,” he stressed.

Section 4 of the proposed measure provides that “ Every mobile phone company shall be required to register its subscribers, both prepaid and postpaid, and maintain a directory thereof, indicating therein the SIM Card serial number, mobile phone number, name, and address of the subscriber.

The bill also seeks sellers to require all SIM card buyers to present a valid ID with a picture and to accomplish a registration form issued by the mobile phone company of the SIM card being purchased. Buyers who will not produce a valid ID will be refused the sale of a SIM card. The seller will also have to submit accomplished registration forms to the same mobile phone company within 15 days from the date of sale.

Section 5, meanwhile, provides assurance that the personal information in the SIM card registration will be not be inquired or looked into except when probable cause is determined by a competent judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses, if any.

Violators will be meted with a fine ranging from P5,000 to P50,000. Existing subscribers must register their SIM cards with their mobile phones within three months from the effectivity of the law or their SIM cards will be deactivated. ###

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