Saturday, April 4, 2015


ALL prepaid subscribers need to register their Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) card once a proposed measure, already passed by the Lower House on second reading becomes a law.

This is something that is very much needed and would close down those who use cell phones for criminal schemes. Members of the House committee on Information and Communications Technology, led by Chairman and Rizal Rep. Joel Roy Duavit, unanimously approved House Bill 5231, otherwise known as SIM card Registration Act of 2015..

Under the proposed measure, all direct sellers must registered pertinent data in a registration form that will include the full name and address of end users.

Authors of the measure are Reps. Marlyn Primicias-Agabas (Pangasinan), Magnolia Rose Antonino-Nadres (Nueva Ecija), Sergio Apostol (Leyte), Rodolfo Biazon (Muntinlupa City), Winston Castelo (Quezon City), Joel Roy Duavit (Rizal), Sherwin
Gatchalian (Valenzuela City), Maximo Rodriguez Jr. (Abante Mindanao party-list), Rufus Rodriguez (Cagayan de Oro City), and Marcelino Teodoro (Marikina City).

Every direct seller will require the end user of a SIM card to present a valid identification with photo to ascertain the latter’s identity.

The direct seller shall also require the end user to accomplish and sign a control-numbered registration form issued by the respective Public Telecommunications Entity (PTE) of the SIM card being purchased.

The registration form shall include an attestation by the end user that the person personally appearing before the direct seller and the identification documents presented are true and correct and that the person is one and the same who has accomplished and signed the registration form.

A fine of Php300,000 is imposed if the offense is committed by a PTE for the first time, Php500,000 for the second offense and for the third and subsequent offenses, a fine of Php1,000,000 each.

The bill also imposes a penalty of suspension of its operation on any direct seller who fails to comply with the provisions of the measure and a fine ranging from Php5,000 to Php50,000.

The House of Representatives is targeting to pass the bill on third and final reading before they adjourn sine die on June 11.


When the President told our congressmen to choose between peace in Mindanao through the BBL (Bangsamoro Basic Law) and counting body bags, we realize the sort of pickle that we are in because of the Mamasapano incident that killed off 44 of our SAF police.

According to an Islamic professor, the security situation in Mindanao is becoming more volatile because both the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front did not prepare plans on what to do in case the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law fails to pass Congress.

“The coming closing chapter of [President Benigno Aquino III] is becoming more delicate because of the BBL,” says Professor Julkipli Wadi, dean of the UP Institute of Islamic Studies.

Aquino had wanted the bill passed this month, but Congress has suspended debates on the proposed law.

Dean Wadi says it is misleading to blame the waning support for the BBL on the Mamasapano incident alone because the proposed legislation was already being severely criticized even before the January 25 incident that resulted in the death of 67 people. 

Even before the Mamasapano incident, Wadi notes that many provisions of the BBL were already being questioned not only by Mindanao residents, but also by the very government security forces that are expected to enforce the proposed law.

Wadi compared the uncertainty on the BBL to the failed Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain which was ultimately rejected as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

“With the end of Aquino’s term inching closer, Congress and Malacañang still has no unified position on the BBL and the recent survey showing a huge margin of Filipinos disagreeing on the BBL could add to the doubts on the issue,” Wadi explained.

A recent Pulse Asia survey showed only 21 percent of respondents agreed with the BBL, 44 percent disagree and 26 percent remained undecided.

“That can only mean one thing: that the BBL is not sure to pass because of the doubts of the people,” says Wadi.

Wadi also doubts that the MILF leadership could control radical elements that could commit desperate acts if they think that the government does not want the BBL to pass although lawmakers have repeatedly said they want a peace pact, but must ensure that it is constitutional.

“What we don’t know is how stable the MILF leadership would be in dissuading their rank-and-file not to create violence out of disappointment on the non-passage of the BBL,” Wadi said, adding that the MILF must assure the government of no renewed war if the BBL is delayed.


Former Oriental Mindoro congressman Rodolfo G. Valencia slammed the drilling operation being undertaken by a geothermal power project in the 23,000-hectare Naujan Lake National Park (NLNP) saying that it is a protected area covered by three presidential proclamations and other environmental laws.

Barangay Montelago in Naujan town hosts the $187-million geothermal power project owned by Emerging Power Inc.

The EPI exploration area covers 3,914 hectares within three lakeshore barangays -- Montelago, Montemayor, and Melgar B -- in Naujan as per the environmental clearance certificate (ECC) granted by the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

The former lawmaker condemned EMB Region IV-B Director Allan L. Leuterio, for his “approval and granting to the EPI of the ECC (which) was flagrantly railroaded as it was not endorsed or passed by the office of the Parks and Wildlife Bureau.”

Lesley Capus, EPI project coordinator, said “our geothermal project is above board. The exploration work being undertaken in the site is all covered by legal documents and above board.”

“The EPI is now in the drilling phase of its geothermal well pad. The geothermal power plant, using steam from underground, will supply an additional 40-megawatts of electric power to the whole island of Mindoro by the third quarter of 2016,” Capus said.

“Yet, geothermal power is a renewable energy source aside from its being cheap and clean,” he added.

Calapan City Mayor Arnan C. Panaligan also raised concerns over the future of Naujan Lake, saying that “we should not lose this treasured national park because if we lose it, we can no longer bring it back to its natural form.”

“We should unite and make a common stand against it if it’s harmful to the environment,” the mayor stressed as he thanked Valencia for calling the consultation.

The PAWB and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature declared the NLNP as a “key biodiversity area” as it is home to rare fish fauna and birds and other waterfowls, such as Philippine duck, tufted duck, Mindoro bleeding heart pigeon,
Mindoro imperial pigeon, spotted imperial pigeon, black-hooded coucal, Mindoro hornbill, ashy thrush, scarlet-collared flowerpecker, and Philippine cockatoo, all “residents of the Naujan Lake, but considered as either vulnerable, critically endangered, endangered, or least concern.”

Within the NLNP is the 9,000-hectare Naujan Lake which hosts the rare killer Mindoro crocodile or the “crocodyles mindorensis, (now considered extinct.”

“The Naujan Lake National Park Lake is a protected area covered by three presidential proclamations approved under the administrations of former Presidents Elpidio Quirino, Ramon Magsaysay, and Ferdinand Marcos,” says Valencia.

“Aside from these proclamations, the NLNP is cited in the Ramsar List of only five wetlands of international importance in the Philippines along with the Tubbataha Reef and the St. Patrick Underground River, in Palawan, and the Agusan Marshland, in Agusan del Sur,” he said.

Valencia, chairman of Oriental Mindoro Investments Council (Orminvest), also took a swipe at provincial officials for passing a resolution giving permission to the EPI geothermal project to do exploration work in the NLNP.

“I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt that they lack knowledge about the negative effects of the exploration and drilling operation being undertaken now around Naujan Lake,” the former first district congressman stressed.

The Oriental Mindoro Sangguniang Panlalawigan, chaired by Vice-Gov. Humerlito Dolor, approved a board resolution allowing the EPI geothermal project to do drilling work inside the NLNP “despite an existing provincial ordinance prohibiting all drilling, exploration and mining activities within the Oriental Mindoro province for 25 years.”

The Montelago Geothermal Power Project is a brainchild of Oriental Mindoro Gov. Alfonso V. Umal, Jr. and his brother, second district Congressman Reynaldo V. Umali, chairman of the House committee on energy.


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