Metro Manila— The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) is in talks with telecommunications firms about halting some SIM services during the 90-day extension of SIM registration so consumers will experience the consequences of failing to list their numbers.
In a media briefing on Tuesday, DICT Secretary Ivan John Uy said there was an increase in the number of registrants near the end of the original April 26 deadline, which he believes reflects the bad habit of deferring compliance to the last minute.
“In the last two weeks, we were averaging a million SIM registration a day. That goes to show that the issue is not really limited ID or anything. It’s just bad habit of delaying to the last minute the compliance to the law,” he said.
Within the 90-day SIM registration extension, Uy said the DICT is looking at gradually limiting access to social media accounts or deactivating call or text services.
“We’re still deciding on the date, but let’s say after 60 days, you will lose your access to your Facebook accounts or your TikTok accounts, but you can still call and text. Then after a certain period, you will lose outgoing calls. That way ramdam niyo kung anong effect ‘pag hindi kayo nagparehistro [you can feel the effect of not registering],” Uy said.
“We feel na kapag makatikim sila gradually kung anong effect ng hindi magparegister, eh mapipilitan sila magparehistro,” the DICT chief added.
[Translation: We feel that when they gradually feel the effect of not registering, they will be forced to register.]
In addition to e-mail addresses, most social media platforms allow users to sign up or log in with their phone numbers. Some also use phone numbers to authenticate users before allowing them to enter their app or website.
The DICT chief explained the process of suspending such services will still be discussed with telcos.
“We’re not shutting down Facebook or TikTok. We’re just limiting the access to those value-added services (VAS),” Uy said. VAS refers to enhanced services beyond those ordinarily provided by telco providers.
According to Uy, the DICT is also discussing with telcos the possibility of giving their subscribers incentives for registering their SIM.
The SIM registration period was set to end on April 26. To date, the DICT said there are around 82 million registrants, comprising 49.31% of total users of major telco players DITO, Globe, and Smart.
Uy also explained that President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. only gave them one chance to extend the SIM registration period as he urged the public to list their numbers during the extra 90-day period. He added that the DICT is expecting around 15 to 18 million more registrants before July 25.