CSC hopefuls weigh on controversial SIM Card Registration Act
By Denise Julianne Pangan and Mharla Francesca Santiano
Central Student Council (CSC) candidates of the University drew flak when they voted for the Sim Card Registration Act during #Tagisan2023 on Saturday, March 25.
The CSC aspirants lent their voices on the matter at this year’s Miting De Avance at the University grounds via TOMCAT’s Facebook livestream.
Prying or protection?
President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos approved RA 11934, or the SIM Card Registration Act, in October last year.
The measure required all SIM card users to register their personal information in the respective databases of their telecommunications companies. This information will then be available for the government upon request.
The law was also enacted to combat spam text messages with virus-driven links and scams.
However, IT experts and analysts warned that the legislation could put consumers’ personal data at risk, and become an avenue for more scams and data breaches.
Incumbent CSC president Nathan Agustin also expressed in a tweet the dangers of this law, considering it as “a tool for state surveillance.”
Retraction and acknowledgment
Following the criticisms and call-outs, two CSC candidates retracted their stance, while the rest remained open for discussion on the SIM Card Registration Act.
Secretary candidate John Peralta admitted in a tweet that he failed to recognize the “socio-political climate and the externalities that come with the act” and retracted his prior stance.
Upon withdrawing his vote for the SIM Card Registration act, aspiring treasurer Rafael Pesuena also emphasized in a tweet that “we must make sure that our privacy is not used against us and will not in any way compromise our safety as citizens.”
The four remaining CSC candidates — public relations officer (PRO) aspirant Maxine Javier, auditor candidate James Ceñido, vice presidential runner Aiah Jacinto, and presidential bet Ierathel Tabuno — also acknowledged their lack of consideration of the underlying conditions of the SIM Card Registration Act.
They are open to further in-depth discussion on the controversial law.
Election period begins on March 28 to April 1, with the canvassing of votes and proclamation of the newly-elected officers taking place on the latter date as well.