Telecommunication companies regretted that President Duterte vetoed the proposed law on mandatory registration of subscriber identity module (SIM) cards that would have gone a long way in preventing cybercrimes and so, they took it upon themselves to devise ways to fight the rising cybercrime incidences in the country, including fake news.

Froilan Castelo, Globe Telecom Inc. general counsel, said the company respects the recent decision of Duterte to veto the bill and called for a more thorough study of the proposal.

“Given this development, we stand ready to provide advice as they examine the matter deeper.

Globe reiterates its commitment to support the government in its fight against fraud, terrorism and other crimes through the enforcement of existing laws,” Castelo said.

The SIM Card Registration bill mandates the registration of SIM cards before sale and activation, and penalizes the use of false information to register upon purchase.

The proposed bill also requires the use of a real name and phone number when creating a social media account.

A strong advocate for a safer internet and cyber wellness, Globe has called for a stronger cybercrime law to protect Filipinos from rampant fraudulent activities using mobile phones and the internet.

“This position remains unchanged,” Castelo said.

PLDT Inc. mobile unit Smart Communications Inc. and Globe have been pushing for the enactment of the bill as it will address the proliferation of fraudulent spam messages, smishing cases and online fraud, and will boost telecom security efforts to keep subscribers safe.

PLDT and Smart did not comment on the veto of the SIM Card Registration bill but gave an update on their effort to curb cybercrime.

The companies said through the intensified capability of their leading cybersecurity solutions and child protection platform, they have blocked over one billion user attempts to access online child sexual abuse materials since November 2021.

The group has also blocked more than 224,000 of similar URLs or web addresses as of end-March 2022.

“In support of our continuing commitment to child protection and to the global fight against online sexual abuse and exploitation of children, these milestone figures manifest our expanded capacity to both block illicit URLs and prevent end-user attempts to access them,” said Angel Redoble, PLDT chief information security advisor.

Amid the global rise in cybercrimes and cases of online sex, PLDT and Smart earlier invested about PHP2 billion into a beefed-up cybersecurity operations center and a dedicated child protection platform that allows the group to continuously detect, predict, respond and prevent access to CSAM, while ensuring full compliance with customer data protection and privacy laws.

According to Redoble, these in-house solutions optimize top-notch cybersecurity technologies and utilize dynamic intelligence data gathered from PLDT and Smart’s alliances with entities like the Internet Watch Foundation and the Canadian Centre for Child Protection.

“Seeing such significant results, we are all the more encouraged to constantly keep abreast with global best practices and forge more alliances to further enhance our infrastructure for customer safety and solutions for child protection,” said Redoble.

Globe said it blocked a total of 1.15 billion scam and spam messages, around 7,000 mobile numbers linked to scammers, and 2,000 unofficial social media accounts and phishing sites as of end-2021.

It is also working closely with law enforcement agencies to track cybercriminals and prevent further incidents of online scamming and phishing.