The SIM Card Registration Act may put an end to child cybersex traffickers, scammers

Getting scammed by someone whom you haven’t met before or seeing a child become a victim of cybersex trafficking are simply problems that are hard to deal with nowadays. Simply put, it’s hard to track down perpetrators behind such illegal acts if you don’t have a single clue about the identity of the person you are chasing after.

While it’s easy to hunt down a person who uses a postpaid number given much easier access to records from telco providers, it’s never the case if the person uses a prepaid Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) card. Well, unless, of course, you try to check the person’s identity by inputting the number on messaging app Viber. Yep, you can actually do that. #ProTip

True enough, the government has implemented more aggressive measures to strengthen its crackdown on online sexual exploitation of children (OSEC) by addressing the root causes of the problem. But the use of prepaid sim cards (which are, by the way, disposable) makes it easier for these people to shield their identities, bringing in a huge challenge for authorities prowling after these perpetrators.

But now, it seems a glimmer of hope is on the horizon as Senator Sherwin “Win” Gatchalian’s Senate Bill No. 176 or the Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) Card Registration Act returns to the table after getting stuck for five years. Yep, he filed it as early as 2016. 

Gatchalian’s move comes following reports of students selling lewd photos and videos to raise funds for distance learning. As it turns out, online payments were made for such transactions. 

Well, it seems it’s just about time to take action since the International Justice Mission (IJM) – a widely known non-profit organization –  receives from the Philippines more than eight times as many referrals as any other country. Well, that’s a lot!

“Sa ating pagsugpo sa child pornography, kailangan nating isulong ang lahat ng paraan upang mapabilis ang pagtugis sa mga kriminal sa likod ng mga karahasang ito. Kung magiging batas ang pagpaparehistro sa mga SIM card, mas mahirap nang makapagtago at makatakas ang mga traffickers na umaabuso sa ating mga kabataan,” Gatchalian said.

Now, end-users of prepaid SIM cards will be required to present a valid ID and photo as well as sign a control-numbered registration form issued by the service provider of the purchased SIM card. Then, the same service provider and the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) shall furnish copies of the accomplished forms.

But the thing is, the SIM Card Registration Act could cover an even larger scope that would benefit the public in the long run – especially since technology never stops advancing. So yes, it may finally put an end to various issues in the digital age – including scheming scammers. How about we pass this law soon? 


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