MANILA, Philippines- Albeit President Benigno Aquino III’s opposition, the Palace is still considering in cautiously reviewing the proposal of some lawmakers to register all subscriber identity modules (SIM) cards of mobile phones following the CDO accident.
The proposal was after the tragic Cagayan de Oro blast on July 26 using a cellphone-triggered bomb that killed 8 people and injured 48 casualties at a popular bistro.
However, according to presidential Spokesperson Abegail Valte, Aquino raised some possible constitutional concerns especially the right to privacy. On the other hand, the parameters of the proposal are still being studied.
“One of the issues that should be looked into would be, if you buy a prepaid SIM card, what do you use to register? Will the telephone companies have the ability to tell if you are submitting the correct information? Let’s say you present a government-issued ID. Will the telephone companies have the capability to vet or to screen the ID that you have submitted? These are just one of the many issues and the many details that have to be looked into before we can seriously consider looking at the proposal,” Valte said.
The proposal was presented by Senators Vicente Sotto III and TeofistoGuingona III at the Senate last Monday stressing that registering the SIM cards would help in tracking down terrorists detonating explosives using cellular phones.
Sotto and Guingona further stressed that mobile phones have been prevalently used for commission of crimes such as blackmailing and kidnapping.
“How many bombings do we have to wait for to register these SIM cards?” Guingona asked.
Moreover, Valte said that though the said proposal is not its first time to be introduced in the Congress, it still needs to be thoroughly studied in order to balance the national security and the right to privacy.
“Any national security concerns should be balanced with the right to privacy,” Valte noted.
Dessa Ruth B. Reyes
Leyte Normal University