Two senators with martial law experience have filed bills seeking the regulation on the use of cellular phone SIM cards in the Philippines  by having users register their names in a central database.

Senate Bill 289 — “An Act requiring the Registration of Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) Cards in Mobile Phones,” — will require buyers of SIM cards would have to present a valid identification card for registration purposes.

Another proposed law, Senate Bill 191, seeks to regulates the sale of prepaid SIM cards by requiring buyers to register information that will be stored in a database to be maintained by telecommunications companies.

A SIM card allows anybody to use cellular phone services even anonymously, as these can be bought almost in every street corner in the Philippines, which has 32 million cell phone users, or almost half of the population.

Some SIM cards can be bought for as low as P100 (approx. 2 US dollars), and are available to anybody without any identification requirements. Unlike regular cellphone accounts, these SIM card owners do not get monthly bills but simply “load” their SIM cards with call or texting credits.

Some criminal elements use these anonymous SIM cards for their activities, such as in contacting the families of kidnap for ransom victims.

Others on the other hand, use these anonymous SIM cards to engage in salacious activities such as sex on phone (SOP), contacting their mistresses and GROs, and sending dirty jokes to innocent school girls.

Some cellphone users are known to keep multiple SIM cards for various reasons.

Telecom companies are expected to lobby against these measures as these will lead to lesser sales of these popular SIM cards. Civil rights groups will also raise concerns that these measures are meant to spy on the citizenry.