Buying a Smart SIM card or a Globe SIM card in the Philippines? A new House bill, Bill 3940, is being proposed by two Mindanao lawmakers in the Philippines with evidently too much time on their hands. This according to a recent January 20, 2011 article in the Philippine Star. Shades of Big Brother! I move to the Philippines and enjoy the relative peace of having the Philippine government not butt into my business to the extent Big Brother in America did, and now these two bonehead Filipino lawmakers want telecommunications firms that sell prepaid SIM cards to activate the purchased card only after entering the name of the buyer. The buyer will now have to present a valid government ID when purchasing a Smart SIM card, Globe SIM card or other SIM cards in the Philippines. Violators would be fined P100,000 to P1 million and imprisoned for one to two years.
The "lawmakers" noted that SIM cards have been used in making ransom demands and in robberies, and by individuals that threaten, harass, and solicit donations. Note to lawmakers: "ANYONE CAN PRESENT A FAKE ID. ANY CRIMINAL CAN HAVE SOMEONE ELSE BUY THE SIM CARDS FOR THEM!" According to mobile phone service providers in the Philippines, most of their customers (myself included) use prepaid SIM cards. I, along with millions of other cell phone users in the Philippines, will now be registered into a national database if this asinine law is passed. The "lawmakers" state that Singapore and Kenya already have such registration laws in place. "Duh!" What does that have to do with the Philippines?
I guess with the spate of recent tragic car hijackings in the Philippines involving used car dealers that resulted in the torture and burning of the victims, this might have prompted the proposed bill. But again, what criminal is going to be stupid enough to use a SIM card in his cell phone that he himself had to present an ID before purchasing it? While I profess that I've read stories of some stupid Filipino crooks since living in the Philippines, I seriously doubt there will be many that will be that ignorant. But then again, what do I now? Maybe those "lawmakers" from Mindanao know more about the criminal mind in the Philippines then I do. After all, they are politicians!