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Gatchalian bill aims to end online scams

Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian (Photo: Henzberg Austria/Senate PRIB)

The Philippines must now join the growing list of countries which require the registration of pre-paid subscriber identity module (SIM) cards to finally put to an end to the various online scams and deceptions.

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian has adopted this position and noted that for as long as there is no effective laws the scammers, “there will be no end to the woes of those who work with dignity in the hope of sustaining their families but who often get being victimized.”

Gatchalian noted that there are over 55 countries that require proof of identity of a person in purchasing a SIM card, citing data from a UK-based Privacy International.

The lawmaker who is vice chair of the Senate Economic Affairs Committee, was referring to the series of incidents involving scams committed on food delivery riders through online orders or bookings.

Recent news reports showed that five riders received different orders via delivery app Foodpanda for the same address in Quezon City only to find out that it is an abandoned place.

Several other incidents have been posted through various social media accounts. Last year, at least 10 riders delivered food amounting to PHP20,000 to a subdivision resident in Las Piñas City who claimed to have not placed any order through a food delivery app.

Gatchalian poinyed out that if the person who delivered “using the delivery app has the correct identification, it will not be easy to fool food riders and avoid these kinds of incidents. It is depressing that amid the pandemic there are still people who are able to take advantage of what we call essential workers these days,” he added.

At the time of his filing of Senate Bill (SB) 176 in July 2019, Gatchalian said foremost of his concern was that of addressing nefarious and illegal activities such as text scams, ransom demands through untraceable mobile numbers, and bombing incidents when mobile phones with pre-paid SIM cards are often used as triggering devices.

Gatchalian recently filed Senate Bill 176, the proposed SIM Card Registration Act, under which prepaid SIM cards end users shall be required to present a valid ID and photo and sign a control-numbered registration form issued by the service provider of the purchased SIM card, copies of which shall be furnished to the National Telecommunications Commission and the same service provider. 

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