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House OKs SIM card listing, PCGG abolition

By Ben R. Rosario

After a long summer break, the House of Representatives approved 11 bills of national significance upon the resumption of regular sessions Tuesday.

Bills imposing stiff penalties against persons found guilty of throwing hard objects at motor vehicles, the registration of Subscribers Identity Module or SIM cards, and the abolition of the Presidential Commission on Good Government were among those passed.

At least 176 congressmen were present, with six to 10 members voting against the PCGG bill, House Bill No. 5236 providing for the return of the military rank classification for policemen, and HB 7033 seeking to establish a comprehensive system for the registration and licensing of social welfare and development agencies.

HB 7233 which requires the registration of SIM cards issued to users was opposed by six Makabayan bloc lawmakers present during the session.

With Reps. Alfred Vargas (PDP-Laban, Quezon City) and Gus Tambunting (PDP-Laban, Parañaque City) as authors, HB 7233 also provides mandatory registration of end users who are foreign nationals.

HB 7233, a consolidation of 12 bills, can be used as a potent weapon to track down criminals and lawless elements involved in illegal activities.

To protect the privacy of subscribers, the bill provides for a confidentiality clause that prohibits disclosure of any information of a subscriber, unless ordered by a competent court or requested by law enforcement agencies.