Press Briefing

Press Briefing of Ms. Daphne Oseña-Paez with Department of Information and Communications Technology Secretary Ivan Uy

Event PCO Press Briefing with DICT

MS. OSEÑA-PAEZ:[COVERAGE CUT] … Ferdinand Marcos Jr. ang panukala ng Department of Information and Communications Technology na i-extend pa ng 90 days ang deadline ng SIM card registration. The original SIM card registration deadline was set for tomorrow, April 26.

And to give us more information on this, we have with us DICT Secretary Ivan Uy. Good afternoon, Secretary Uy.

DICT SECRETARY UY: Good afternoon, Daphne, and good afternoon to everyone, especially to the Malacañang Press Corps.

So as introduced by Madam Daphne earlier, in the sectoral meeting this morning with the President, the President has approved our recommendation to extend the SIM card registration by 90 days. So within that 90-day period, we urge our kababayan to take advantage of this extension to register the SIM cards. So far, we have about 82 million SIM cards that have already been registered. And we anticipate that there will be probably around 15 to 18 or 20 million SIM cards that are still, that needs to be registered that are active. We’re anticipating that the total SIM card registration will be about a hundred million, more or less; and the remaining 50 million are the ones that are disposable, so to speak, the ones that are being used only once and for different purposes, either for telemarketing purposes or for scamming purposes.

So with that, 90 days, we believed that that will already give a lot of time to the public in order to fulfill the requirements of the law on the SIM card registration.

We have noticed in the past few days, there was a surge in the registration. You know, earlier, for several months actually, we were only registering about a hundred thousand SIM card registrants. But in the last two weeks, we were averaging more than a million SIM card registrations per day. So that just goes to show that the issue is not really limited ID or anything; it’s just our bad habit of delaying to the last minute the compliance to the law.

So this is the last chance. The law actually has our hands tied. We are only allowed to do this, the extension once and up to a certain period of time. Thereafter, it will be a hard deadline. And those who do not register will lose all services – they will lose the number, they will lose access to their SIM card, which means they cannot call out; they cannot receive calls; they cannot text, and they will lose access also to their e-wallets and whatever financial services that are linked to their SIM card. So I urge the public really to register quickly.

We are exploring some options that will be available to us in order to incentivize our public to register. We did not put those conditions in the first SIM card registration. But because of our observation that people are not taking our deadlines seriously, we are now exploring other options to incentivize registration. So one is that we are talking to our telcos, during the 90-day period na we will observe the rate of registration. After a certain period of time, we’re seeing maybe 30 days or 60 days into registration, we will start deactivating some services on the SIM card. So for those who are registered within the first 30 or 60 days—we’re still deciding on the date—but, let’s say, after the 60 days, you will lose your access to your Facebook accounts or to your TikTok accounts. But you still can use your phone – you can still call; you can still text, and then after a certain period, you will lose your outgoing calls so that way, ramdam ninyo kung anong effect na hindi kayo nagpaparehistro.

And so eventually, once we reach the 90-day, you will lose completely all services to all your SIM cards. So those are still being threshed out by the telcos as to which ones will be easier for them to implement and how do we schedule the gradual reduction of the services. So iyong mga matitigas ang ulo, they wanted some convincing whether we’re serious or not, makakatikim sila nitong mga incentives namin in order to …. [Laughs].

Yes, minsan siguro, you know, that’s the only language that some of our countrymen can understand. So with that—kinausap namin iyong telcos, baka kung puwede iyong mga nag-register, dagdagan ng load or something. Eh palugi eh, malulugi raw sila doon so … kawawa naman sila. So we are exploring the possibility of gradually doing this. That way, it will definitely make the public feel that we’re serious with the deactivation without completely cutting them off, the services. But after the 90 days, that’s when they will feel the full cutoff of all services.

So with that—well, I’d like also to remind everybody to be very alert on all the scams, text scams that are going around, with notice that before the announcement of the SIM card registration—I’m averaging about six or seven text scams a day. But after we announced the SIM card registration, it was down to about just one or two text scams per day. But recently, because of the nearness to the registration and apparently many of them—many of the scammers saw an opportunity now, these people are rushing to register… they are now increasing again their text scams by posing as your bank and, you know, telling them they’re so and so bank and that you need—because of the SIM card registration, you need to update your SIM numbers and that you need to register with them again and provide them with all those details. Those did not come from your banks – those did not come from your banks so do not be fooled by those. That’s another opportunity that they saw in creating this social engineering ‘no to deceive the public.

Unfortunately, with this announcement of a 90-day extension, we expect that text scams will be going to increase again because we have now given them a 90-day window to continue their nefarious activities. So, it was a pro and con thing, and it was difficult for us to make this decision, but again, we want the public to avail really of the SIM card registration. And ultimately, it is really for our own good and to protect the public from all these criminal activities and all these scams that are going about.

So, I’m just issuing this warning to the public – expect an increase in the scams within this 90-day period because we’ve just opened the floodgates again to them, to use the text messaging because these are all non-registered ‘no, non-registered SIMS.

So with that, I think we’re okay.

OSEÑA-PAEZ:Okay. We have some time for some questions? Yeah?

DICT SEC. UY: Yes, yes.

OSEÑA-PAEZ:Okay. Chona Yu, Radio Inquirer.

CHONA YU/RADIO INQUIRER: Sir, good afternoon. How are you going to address the problem na marami po ang gustong magparehistro pero down ang system? Hindi sila nakakapasok sa sistema ng mga telcos.

DICT SEC. UY: I think hindi naman down noong past six months ‘no. They’re may be down, maybe a day or two but it’s not consistently down. So kung nag-down noong time na iyon then try again – there will definitely more times that it will be up and in-address na iyan ng mga telcos. A lot of the telcos have increased their capacity, have increased the availability of their system so I don’t think that’s excuse for them na just because once or twice sila nag-try, down… eh for the rest of the 178 days hindi sila nag-register.

OSEÑA-PAEZ:Okay. Cathy Valente, Manila Times.

CATHERINE VALENTE/MANILA TIMES: Good afternoon, sir. Sir, isa rin iyong problema, iyong more than half daw po ng mga SIM card holders ay walang government-issued ID. Will the government daw honor the other IDs? Kasi may mga instances daw, sir, na isang SIM card holder na may valid ID, kaya niyang mag-register ng more than ten persons and other people – SIM card ng other people. What are the measures in place po para ma-avoid iyong ganitong abuse? And paano po pala natin matutulungan iyong mga nasa malayong lugar? Mayroon ba tayong mga places where they can register in person or mga booths po? Thank you.

DICT SEC. UY: Opo. Number one, on the ID, actually our system is allowing even barangay-issued IDs. So barangay is already the most—the lowest government agency ‘no or government entity and it’s—they’re fully accessible by all the residents within that barangay. So, a barangay-issued ID is a government ID, and they can just go to the barangay to do it.

In many of the barangays, once you go there to apply for a Barangay ID, you can also use their facility. The barangay captain or the barangay officials can register for you on your behalf using your mobile phone and accessing their data or accessing their Wi-Fi or internet service there. So, that’s how liberal the ID system. It doesn’t have to be a driver’s license or a passport – a Barangay ID would suffice.

Second, is our telcos including the NTC and the National ID System, the PSA… actually has been deploying their mobile units ‘no to many of the remote areas and informing those remote areas through their barangays as to what date and time and period they will be in those areas so that the residents of those barangays can go to them – they set it up in the barangay hall so that they can do the registration. And these telcos actually bring their equipment and bring all the systems with them to do the registration.

In our report to the President, we have identified some of the areas, some of the provinces that have low turnout of registrants. So in the next 90 days, we will be concentrating on some of those islands and some of those communities where we will be deploying more people and more resources to those islands for the registration.

OSEÑA-PAEZ:So, since we are live on television and in social media, I will repeat it in Tagalog. Puwede ang Barangay ID para magparehistro ng SIM card so magpatulong sa mga barangay natin. At sa mga wala pang National ID, hindi naman ito iyong only requirement para sa registration – puwede ang Barangay ID.

Okay. Next, we have Pia Gutierrez, ABS-CBN.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Hi, sir. Sir, ano po iyong mga naging consideration ni President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. in approving the recommendation? And at the same time, sir, what were the reasons of the DICT to recommend the extension considering a few days ago, sabi ninyo wala nang extension despite the request of the telcos?

DICT SEC. UY: Yes. Actually, it had a very positive effect by not announcing any extension – nagkaroon tayo ng malaking registration in the past two weeks. Siguro kung nag-announce tayo ng extension na napakaaga ay wala tayong—hindi tayo aabot ng quota natin ‘no. We were just hitting 100,000 to 200,000 per day. But the last two weeks, because we did not really decide on doing that extension, we were hitting one million – one million registrants per day.

So clearly, matitigas lang talaga ang ulo ng ating mga kababayan. They always just want the last minute and they’re always hoping for an extension. Kaya medyo we have to adopt a very, rather more, stronger stance against this continuing to provide extensions. In fact, our Bureau of Internal Revenue also has the same problems especially for registration; our Comelec also always have the same problem ‘no with the registration of new voters – they provided deadline and on the last day dudumugin ng mga tao iyong ano. So, it’s a bad habit and I think we should start being more responsible in complying. When we say deadline, it’s really a deadline. Thank you.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Tama ba, sir, the low turnout was the main reason for the extension?

DICT SEC. UY: Actually, it’s not the low turnout, we are already at 82 million and as I said earlier, the 168 million original numbers are not an accurate number in terms of legitimate SIM card users. The expected number would be about 100 million more less, maybe 110 million on the high side. So, with that number at 82 million, we are about 80% registered.

We did a comparative study in the other jurisdictions in other countries where they also had SIM card registration efforts and based on those studies, the actual number is really about 70%. So, when you’re talking 70% of all SIM cards issued being legitimate SIM card users, sa 168 million natin mga nasa 100 to 110 million. So, we are expecting about maybe about 20 million pa ang hindi nakapagrehistro and because that’s all still a significant number – 20 million – so the president has decided to extend, to allow the extension of 90 days.

You know, if we continue at one million registrants per day, 90 days should be 90 million registrations. But with—Of course, that is being naive na we expect that itong 90 days na ito mukhang magda-drop iyong mga registration for the next 30 days ‘no, baka we might be back to a 100,000 or even less for the first 30 days and then it will start picking up again when the deadline starts coming in. That’s why we are exploring with the telcos the possibility of incentivizing them by letting them taste what it would be like if certain services are no longer available to them if they do not register.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Sir, last na lang. Sir, why only 90 days, why not 120 days which is the maximum period allowed by law for the extension and also, sir, ibig sabihin may possibility pa po ba for another extension if lower than expected iyong registration after 90 days?

DICT SEC. UY: I don’t think so. I think 90 days…we all had extensive deliberation on that and we feel that 90 days is more than reasonable enough time for everybody to register. For 90 days – we are talking about 120 days – for the remaining 30 days we are exploring other possibilities on what to do with that. We might allow that after the 90 days, all SIM cards will be deactivated but perhaps they can do some catch up registration even after their SIM cards have already been deactivated. So that might be one of the options but that has not been decided.

So, for now 90 days is the hard deadline and whether you like it or not we are going to deactivate all SIM cards after the 90-day period.

OSEÑA-PAEZ:Nestor Corrales, Philippine Daily Inquirer.

NESTOR CORRALES/PDI: Sir, you mentioned earlier that it was not the low turnout that prompted the president to allow the extension, were there other compelling considerations that allowed the president to allow this extension, sir?

DICT SEC. UY: Well, for one is that when the statistics came in, when we’re looking at the low turnout, we discovered that some of the low turnouts were in the island provinces like Dinagat, Siquijor, Camiguin Islands – so these are some of the island provinces that are—Tawi-Tawi, Basilan – so with this, when it was presented the president noticed that we need to put in more effort to deploy teams to those island provinces in order to address the low turnout.

OSEÑA-PAEZ:Okay. Job Manahan, ABS-CBN News Online.

JOB MANAHAN/ABS-CBN NEWS ONLINE: Good afternoon, sir. Sir, regarding doon sa incentive na tinatawag natin, na-mention ninyo kanina baka mawalan sila ng access sa Facebook, sa TikTok. More information regarding this; siguro, sir, kakausapin ninyo rin po ba iyong mga heads ng Facebook and TikTok dito kasi we’re talking about social media sites and it’s very important to many Filipinos.

DICT SEC. UY: Exactly. We don’t need to talk to them because that’s purely within the jurisdiction of the Philippines. So, we’re not shutting down Facebook or shutting down TikTok; we’re just limiting the access to those value-added services ‘no – we call them the VAS. It doesn’t even have to be them, they could…one option is they still have access to that but they cannot for instance do outgoing calls anymore.

So, it’s up to the telcos. So, we’ll be meeting with the telcos to find out which particular option would be the most feasible to do gradually over that timeframe. I just mentioned those social media because that’s the one that’s going to probably convince, will have the biggest impact in convincing our kababayans to do the registration kasi iyon ang ramdam nila na hindi na sila makapag-post ng TikTok or whatever.

So, tinitingnan namin. So, mag-uusap na muna kami dahil that will require amendment to the IRR. So, we will be working on those options. Kasi sabi namin kung wala kaming gagawin at basta lang mag-extend ng 90 days, we’ll still have the same problem. Mahina ang registration and then on the 70th, 80th day there’ll be clamor again, magpa-extend and all those things. But we feel that kung makatikim sila gradually, na anong magiging effect kung hindi sila mag-rehistro, ‘eh mapipilitan talaga silang magparehistro.

JOB MANAHAN/ABS-CBN NEWS ONLINE: Sir, additional po. Sa IRR, sir, parang mayroong provision doon na puwedeng ma-reactivate iyong mga SIM cards.

DICT SEC. UY: Five days.

JOB MANAHAN/ABS-CBN NEWS ONLINE: Opo. So as long as nasa loob siya ng 5-day period. Pero ano iyong mga conditions, para ma-reactivate iyong mga SIM cards na ito? Like hindi po kasi na-mention doon sa IRR kung ano iyong mga compelling reasons para ma-reactivate sila?

DICT SEC. UY: Actually, they don’t have any reasons, it is just a last chance of opportunity na putol na sila, wala ng service, but they’re still can register. So, diyan iyong leeway iyong sinasabi, ini-explain ko kanina kay Pia Gutierrez, that 90 days, but seems were all allowed up to 120 days, iyong remaining 30 days maaaring diyan kami mag-adjust, perhaps not 5 days, maybe 10 days or 2 weeks or whatever or –to allow them to, to apply for reactivation. But at this time, definitely putol na iyong mga SIM cards nila by 90 days.

OSEÑA-PAEZ: Okay. Allan Francisco, PTV 4.

ALLAN FRANCISCO/ PTV 4: Thank you Ma’am. Hi sir, hindi yata ito question kung hindi advice na lang sa ating mga kababayan. Especially po, ang concern kasi sir ng mga netizens, kapag, halimbawang sabay-sabay daw sila nagpapa-register, mabagal daw. So, what time sir ang ina-advice ninyong mas magandang mag-register for them?

DICT SEC. UY: Alam ninyo po, 80 million na po nakapag-rehistro diyan. So, I don’t think na babara iyong system, for this remaining few na medyo hold over so to speak. Kayang kaya na po ng sistema ng lahat ng telcos to accommodate anytime, any day. So, ang ina-address na lang talaga natin is iyong mga liblib na lugar na medyo nahirapan sila. So, doon kami magko-concentrate. Medyo nagulat lang kasi ako, may nagti-text pa sa akin ‘no, na mga kakilala ko, kanina paano daw mag-register. Sabi ko, teka nga muna mga abogado kayo, at na nandito kayo sa Metro Manila, ngayon pa, ngayon te-text ko paano mag-register nun. So, so iyong ‘no, we’ve been doing a lot of public information, lot of those and then, you know, you have lawyers who are in Metro Manila who is not even registering. So, sabi ko sa kanya, postpaid ka ‘di ba? Yes postpaid, so tingnan mo, may na-receive ka bang text sa telco mo na magpa-register? So, hinanap niya, ito mayroon pala, so anong sa i-type mo, yes – sige i-type mong yes, iyon registered kana, ganoon ka-simple. Pero nag-antay pa rin up to today.

OSEÑA-PAEZ: Okay. Eden Santos net25.

EDEN SANTOS/NET25: Secretary, clarification lang po ha, after po ng 90 days, pero may mga bibili ng bagong sim, iyon po talagang ire-register na iyon. Puwede pa po iyon?

DICT SEC. UY: Opo, after the 90 days, continue ho iyong pagbebenta ng SIM cards, indefinite ho iyon. 100 days, 200 days how many years, tuloy-tuloy iyon. Kasi meron tayong mga travelers, mga visitors, siyempre pagdating nila dito bibili sila ng SIM cards. So, once na bumili ng SIM card, kahit na sino puwedeng bumili. But then, iyong binili mong SIM card, deactivated iyan pagkarga ninyo sa cellphone mo, magrerehistro ka. Oras na mag-rehistro ka, then activated.

EDEN SANTOS/NET25: Thank you po, kasi bibili ako ng SIM card ‘eh.

OSEÑA-PAEZ:  Haydee Sampang FABC

HAYDEE SAMPANG /FABC: Good afternoon, Secretary. Mayroon po bang nalalabag na batas iyong mga SIM card vendor, na naningil po, let say ng 20 pesos po minimum charge, every time po na nag a-assist po sila sa mga nagpa-register ng SIM?  Particularly po doon sa mga hirap sa pagpa-register parang mga hindi po sila digital savvy, o kaya mahirap pong klase iyong mga cellphone po nila. So, katuwiran po ng mga vendor, data po nila iyong ginagamit, kaya meron po silang charge. So, may nalalabag po sila na batas at saka iyong ganito po bang pamamaraan ay ini-encourage para po mag-increase po iyong registration po natin?

DICT SEC. UY: Well, actually it’s a private transaction between the SIM card holder and the, and the SIM seller ‘no, retailer ba ito? Mga retailer, nasa palengke, oo. So, it’s a private transaction between them. They’re asking for assistance, from an individual and so kung tutulungan ka at nag-magandang loob iyong tao, at tinulungan ka using their data for free, pasalamat ka, pero some of them probably are not willing, parang ano rin iyan, alam mo dati halimbawa kung makikigamit ka ng telepono ay hihingin ka ng 5 pesos, puwede mong gamitin iyong telepono. Hindi naman siguro lumalabag sa batas na mag-charge sila ng kaunting fee dahil may gastos rin naman sila. Katulad lang nun, data nila ang ginagamit, so may gastos sa kanila iyon. And I think 20 pesos is very, very reasonable. And for many na medyo digitally challenged, I think nakakatulong naman iyon. Otherwise, magpa-tulong sila sa anak nila, sa pamangkin nila, sa mga apo nila. Marami naman siguro diyan or kapitbahay man lang ‘no, na marunong. Doesn’t have to be with the retail outlets. Pero sa tingin ko, dahil medyo nakasanayan sila, dahil doon rin sila bumibili ng load, so feeling nila na mas kabisado ng mga iyan, kung paano ang SIM card registration. But ginawa na ho natin pinaka-simple na proseso, upang maka-accommodate ang lahat ng mga ating kababayan.

OSEÑA-PAEZ: Okay. Any more questions for Secretary Uy? Happy Birthday, Anna.

Okay, I think we’re done. Thank you very much, Secretary Ivan Uy. And again, reminder to all our kababayan, magparehistro na ng SIM dahil 90 days na lang ang natitira; ito ay libre. And as Secretary Uy said, may posibilidad na ang certain services ay isu-suspend, pero ito ay idi-discuss pa, and we will be updating you on that. So, in the meantime please register your SIM cards.

Thank you very much, Malacañang Press Corps and thank you Secretary Uy.


News and Information Bureau – Transcription Section