Senator Sherwin Gatchalian urged President Duterte yesterday to certify as urgent a measure that calls for mandatory registration of prepaid subscriber identity module (SIM) cards, saying this policy would help curb the increasing number of hoax bomb threats.
Gatchalian, author of Senate Bill No. 203, the “SIM Card Registration Act,” also stressed the necessity of his bill as the country remains under a State of National Emergency on account of lawless violence in the wake of the tragic Davao City bombing.
Since the bombing, Gatchalian noted that a slew of bomb scares sent via text messages have caused commotions at several schools in densely-populated areas such as Metro Manila and Davao City.
“Mandatory registration of prepaid mobile numbers will discourage ill-willed pranksters and allow us to punish those who currently perpetrate security scares through text message with impunity,” said Gatchalian, a member of the Senate committee on national defense and security.
“More importantly, this measure will empower law enforcement authorities to trace and suppress legitimate terror threats during these uncertain times,” the senator said.
Under the bill all direct sellers of prepaid SIM cards must compel prospective buyers to present a valid photo ID before completing the sale.
Current owners of prepaid SIM cards would be mandated to register themselves and their mobile numbers within 180 days from the effectivity of the law.
Existing SIM cards that are not registered within the 180-day period would be automatically scheduled for deactivation.
PREPAID CARD EXPIRY ‘UNETHICAL BUSINESS’
Meanwhile, Bohol Representative Arthur Yap wants to prohibit and penalize the imposition of expiration of prepaid cards, certificates or other devices of prepayment of goods and services.
He described as “unethical business practice” the imposition of expiration on prepaid cards or gift certificates by the telecommunication companies, retail establishments and other commercial companies.
“There is no basis, whatsoever, for the imposition of the expiration. It is downright cheating,” Yap said in filing House Bill 2447.
“In fact, such practice can also be deemed illegal. The consumers, as buyers have paid or gave consideration (in advance) for service or goods to be provided or sold by the seller-establishment. This is basically a contract of sale, except that the goods and services were paid in advance.This variation is even very favorable to the merchant establishment as it has been paid already, even if it still has to deliver the goods or render services,” he said.
He explained that in such contract, the seller does have any right to unilaterally decide not to deliver the goods or provide the services by imposing an expiration of the time the buyer should get the goods or use the services. (With a report from Charissa M. Luci)