Politics

Assisted SIM registration in remote areas begins this week

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THE Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) announced on Tuesday that the assisted registration of subscriber identity module (SIM) cards in the identified remote areas will start this week.

“SIM registration rollout in remote areas will commence this week for 15 identified locations in different provinces,” the DICT said in a statement.

According to DICT Spokesperson and Undersecretary Anna Mae Y. Lamentillo, the government-led facilitation of SIM registration in remote areas aims to ensure that the implementation of the SIM registration law is “inclusive and that we finish the SIM registration on time.”

“We are reaching out to SIM end-users in areas with limited telecommunication or internet access to assist them in registering their SIMs. The DICT’s Free Wi-Fi sites will serve as the hubs for SIM registration in geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas (GIDAs),” she added.

The department said that the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has tasked concerned local government units (LGUs) to ensure the success of the assisted registration in the identified areas.

“The DILG is providing its full assistance in the rollout of SIM registration in remote areas through our LGUs. Secretary Benhur C. Abalos, Jr. has already urged LGUs to exert all efforts to promote responsible use of SIM cards, educate their stakeholders on the benefits of SIM registration, and guide and assist our citizens in the whole registration process,” said DILG Spokesperson Margarita N. Gutierrez.

Among the identified areas for the assisted SIM registration are Pasuquin, Ilocos Norte; Moalboal, Cebu; Palo, Leyte; Pangantucan, Bukidnon; Malalag, Davao del Sur; Atok, Benguet; Camalaniugan, Cagayan; Calumpit, Bulacan; Rosario, Batangas; City of Zamboanga, Zamboanga del Sur; Baco, Oriental Mindoro; City of Ligao, Albay; Carles, Iloilo; Arakan, Cotabato; and Tagbina, Surigao del Sur.

In an e-mailed statement, PLDT and Smart First Vice-President and Group Head of Corporate Communications Cathy Y. Yang said: “Since the launch of the SIM registration process last Dec. 27, Smart and TNT have taken the lead in the industry setting up assisted SIM registration booths at stores, markets, terminals, schools, government offices, and other locations accessible to the public across the Philippines, in collaboration with local government units, partner stores, and regional provincial distributors.”

“These assisted booths and touchpoints are meant to fast-track SIM registration, and the simultaneous SIM Registration with the NTC is seen to help hasten the process further. Smart and TNT personnel will provide a priority lane for seniors, for persons with disabilities, and for those using basic phones, in order to make SIM Registration as inclusive as possible. This is aligned with our commitment not to leave anyone behind,” she added.

According to the DICT, registration has been completed for 24,120,541 SIM cards as of Jan. 22. “Based on records provided by the National Telecommunications Commission, the total number is 14.27% of the 168,977,773 million subscribers nationwide,” it said. — Arjay L. Balinbin