Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has vetoed the proposed SIM Card Registration Act, which aims to address SIM card-based fraud and other crimes aided by SIM cards, as well as fight the rise of online trolls. Image Credit: AP

Manila: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has vetoed a proposed legislation approved by both chambers of Philippine Congress seeking to mandate the registration of all SIM cards and social media accounts in the country, his spokesperson announced Friday (April 15, 2022).

The bill known as SIM Card Registration Act, aimed to address SIM card-based fraud and other crimes aided by SIM cards, as well as fight the rise of online trolls, has been vetoed by the chief executive, Acting presidential spokesperson Martin Andanar said Friday.

2 reasons for veto

Andanar said Duterte objected to a number of provisions, including:

(1) The inclusion of social media providers in the registration requirement, which “was not part of the original version of the bill and needs a more thorough study.” “Prior versions only mandated the registration of SIM cards,” Andanar said in a statement.

(2) “The President similarly found that certain aspects of state intrusion, or the regulation thereof, have not been duly defined, discussed, or threshed out in the enrolled bill, with regard to social media registration,” he added.

Clearer guidelines sought

Andanar said that Duterte “was constrained to disagree” with the inclusion of social media in the measure without providing proper guidelines — saying it may “give rise to a situation of dangerous state intrusion and surveillance threatening many constitutionally protected rights.”

“It is incumbent upon the Office of the President to ensure that any statute is consistent with the demands of the Constitution, such as those which guarantee individual privacy and free speech,” Andanar said.

A bills passes into law when it are approved by both chambers of Congress (House of Representatives and Senate) and the President of the Philippines.

A veto is the power of the President to refuse to approve a bill or joint resolution and thus prevent its enactment into law. 


Yes, while bill may be vetoed by the President, the House of Representatives may overturn a presidential veto by garnering a two-thirds majority vote.

Bill thrown back to Congress

“This notwithstanding, we ask Congress not to lose heart in passing effective and strengthened measures that offer our citizens a safe and secure online environment, provided that the same would stand judicial scrutiny,” he added.

Under the bill, social media account providers shall require a real name and phone number upon creating an account.

All public telecommunications entities (PTEs) are also required by the proposed bill to register SIM cards as a prerequisite to their sale and activation.

In January, an industry group reported that credit card fraud cases jumped 21% in the Philippines— which they blamed on “SIM card swap" schemes.

Sim jacking
“SIMJACKING” | It's a dangerous form of digital hijacking, using a simple ruse: A SIM swap scam is a type of account takeover fraud that targets a weakness in two-factor authentication and two-step verification in which the second factor or step is a text message or call placed to a mobile telephone.

Credit Card Association of the Philippines (CCAP), which groups 18 major credit card service providers in the country — urged Globe Telecom and Smart Communications, as well as the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) and the House of Representatives, following reports of “experiencing high volumes of fraud cases causing financial detriment.”

CCAP said the “Virtual Account Take Over” scam had the highest number of incidents.

The scam involves taking over and gaining access to the one-time passwords or OTPs of customers, enabling criminals to perform OTP-validated online transactions.

SIM SWAPPING SCAM | It occurs when someone (a hacker interested in cleaning your bank account) contacts your wireless carrier and is able to convince the call centre employee that they are, in fact, you. All a fraudster needs to carry out the SIM swap fraud are the name and mobile number of an individual being targetted by the attack. SIM swap fraud cases have emerged in different parts of the world, including the Philippines.