After the House of Representatives approved on final reading a bill requiring SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) card registration, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) said that keeping preferred or personal numbers — even if registered with a different network — could be possible.
Acting DICT Secretary Eliseo Rio also said in a Radyo Inquirer interview on Friday that cellphone numbers could be “portable”, since the differences in the first three digits of mobile numbers were used merely just for distinction.
“Ang pag-award kasi ng number noon is per telco, by block, and then telco ang nag-aaward ng numbers, kaya alam natin na itong first three digits ay para sa Globe, para sa Smart, or Sun,” Rio said in the radio interview.
“Ngayon ho, wala na ‘yan kahit na ikaw ay ‘917’ at lumipat ka Smart, dala mo pa rin ‘yong number mo,” Rio added, referring to the proposed measure on SIM card registration passed at the House of Representatives recently.
Rio noted that the Philippines is one of the few countries where the public does not need to register to use pre-paid SIM cards. If House Bill 7233, or the “SIM Card Registration Act”, is enacted into law, Rio said, telcos would have to require valid identification cards from customers purchasing SIM cards.
“Actually tayo lang ang isang bansa sa region natin na hindi nagpapa-register ng sim cards. In fact, kung pumunta kayo ngayon ng Singapore at gusto niyong kumuha ng local sim card do’n, kailangan hong magpakita kayo ng passport at ire-register po kayo,” Rio said.
Telecommunications companies would then register the SIM card under the customer’s name. Lawmakers and the DICT believed that registering phone numbers would contribute largely to public safety, especially in crime prevention.
“We are supporting it (passing of the bill), para mahinto ang paggamit ng anonymous numbers para sa paggawa (ng krimen),” Rio said.