House OKs bill requiring SIM card registration

By: Neil Arwin Mercado - Reporter / / 04:13 PM December 06, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives has approved the measure requiring the registration of Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards on final reading Monday.

The “SIM Card Registration Act,” which aims to help authorities track criminals using mobile phones with pre-paid and post-paid SIM cards, received 118 votes in favor, zero against, and no abstentions.

Under the measure, every public telecommunication entity (PTE) or direct seller shall require the end-user of a SIM card to present valid identification with a photo to ascertain identity.

The PTE or direct seller shall require the end-user to accomplish and sign a control-numbered registration form issued by the respected PTE of the SIM card purchased.

All PTEs shall maintain a SIM card Register of their subscribers and update the Department of Information and Technology Communications (DICT) every six months.

The measure likewise includes a confidentiality clause that prohibits disclosing any information of a subscriber, unless upon subpoena or lawful order from a competent court or written request from law enforcement agency concerning an ongoing investigation, that a particular number requested is used in the commission of a crime.

Failure to comply with the SIM card registration policy gives the PTEs the authority to deactivate their services to the pre-paid SIM card subscriber automatically.

A similar measure has been filed in the Senate.

Under Senate Bill No. 176 or the proposed SIM Card Registration Act, end-users of pre-paid SIM cards shall be required to present a valid ID and photo and sign a control-numbered registration form issued by the service provider of the purchased SIM card.

NCR, most of PH remains under Alert Level 2
until Dec. 15

By Azer Parrocha  November 29, 2021, 9:00 pm PNA


MANILA – Most of the areas in the country, including Metro Manila, will remain under Alert Level 2 from Dec. 1 to 15 to prevent the entry of the new Omicron variant of Covid-19, Malacañang announced in a statement on Monday night.

“The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) approved on Monday, November 29, 2021, the recommendation to place the National Capital Region under Alert Level 2,” Cabinet Secretary and acting Presidential Spokesperson Karlo Nograles said in a press statement.

Also placed under Alert Level 2 are:

Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR): Benguet, Abra, Kalinga, Baguio City, Mountain Province, and Ifugao;

Region 1: Dagupan City, Ilocos Sur, Ilocos Norte, La Union, and Pangasinan;

Region 2: Batanes, Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, Quirino, and City of Santiago;

Region 3: Angeles City, Aurora, Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Olongapo City, Pampanga, Zambales, and Tarlac;

Region 4-A: Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon, and Lucena City;

Region 4-B: Occidental Mindoro, Oriental Mindoro, Puerto Princesa City, Marinduque, Romblon, and Palawan;

Region 5: Albay, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Sorsogon, Masbate, and Naga City;

Region 6: Aklan, Antique, Bacolod City, Capiz, Guimaras, Iloilo, Iloilo City, and Negros Occidental;

Region 7: Bohol, Cebu, Cebu City, Lapu-Lapu City, Mandaue City, Negros Oriental, and Siquijor;

Region 8: Biliran, Eastern Samar, Leyte, Northern Samar, Ormoc City, Southern Leyte, Tacloban City, and Western Samar;

Region 9: City of Isabela, Zamboanga City, Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur, and Zamboanga Sibugay;

Region 10: Bukidnon, Cagayan de Oro City, Camiguin, Iligan City, Lanao del Norte, Misamis Occidental, and Misamis Oriental;

Region 11: Davao City, Davao del Norte, Davao de Oro, Davao del Sur, Davao Occidental, and Davao Oriental;
12: General Santos City, North Cotabato, Sarangani, South Cotabato, and Sultan Kudarat;

Region 13 (Caraga): Butuan City, Surigao del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Sur, Dinagat Islands, and Agusan del Norte; and Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao: Basilan, Cotabato City, Tawi-Tawi, Sulu, Lanao del Sur, and Maguindanao.

Meanwhile, the province of Apayao shall be placed under Alert Level 3 from Dec. 1 to 15.

On Monday, the Department of Health (DOH) reported 665 additional cases of Covid-19— the lowest single-day tally in over 16 months—bringing the total number of cases in the Philippines to 2,832,275.


First detected in Botswana, Southern Africa, the Omicron variant has since cropped up in South Africa, Israel, Germany, Italy and Britain, and Hong Kong

Currently, the Philippines has not yet reported a case of the Omicron variant of Covid-19. (PNA)

SC junks plea: Duterte has discretion on how to defend West Philippine Sea

By Kristine Joy Patag -, November 24, 2021 | 12:25pm

MANILA, Philippines — Esmero also said that the filing of diplomatic protests — which the Department of Foreign Affairs has been doing — is not a defense of the country. The Philippines must “go to the [United Nations] Security Council and invoke the [U]niting for [P]eace [R]esolution of 1950’ and sue China before the International Court of Justice to demand payment and damages for taking the Kalayaan Islands.”

The court stressed that a petition for mandamus would only prosper if the petitioner can be shown that the subject of the plea is a ministerial act or duty of the person.

The petitioner, however “has failed to point to any law that specifically requires the President to go to the UN or the ICJ to sue China for its incursions into our exclusive economic zone,” the tribunal said.

“Neither has he shown a clear and unmistakable constitutional and statutory provision which prescribes how the President is to respond to any threat (actual or imminent) from another State to our sovereignty or exercise of our sovereign rights,” the court added.

Associate Justice Rodil Zalameda wrote the ruling promulgated June 29, but was uploaded on the SC website only on November 22.

The ruling was released days after two Filipino boats were supposed to deliver supplies to the BRP Sierra Madre stationed at Ayungin Shoal when they were blocked and water-cannoned by three Chinese Coast Guard ships, forcing them to abort their resupply mission.

President Rodrigo Duterte and the Department of Foreign Affairs have since denounced the incident, with the chief executive raising it during the ASEAN-China Special Summit to Commemorate the 30th Anniversary of Dialogue Relations.

President's discretion

The SC however said that with the petitioner only having Duterte as a sole respondent, it should be dismissed outright. The SC cited its De Lima v. Duterte ruling that “the President is immune from suit during his incumbency,” regardless of suit filed against him.

But even if the SC would consider the case filed against the Executive Secretary, the court said “a writ of mandamus would still not lie in the petitioner’s favor.”

It also said that while the late President Benigno Aquino III availed of the legal mechanism under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, he “was under no obligation, certainly not one coercible via a writ of mandamus, to file a case against China.”

If Duterte opts for a different approach with China, it would not mean that he has “unlawfully abdicated his duty to protect and defend our national territory, correctible with the issuance by this Court of the extraordinary writ of mandamus," it said.

The court said that the decision on how to best address the country’s disputes with China ultimately rests on the government’s political branches.

It added that the Constitution vests the President — not the court — with executive power on how to protect the Philippines and conduct foreign affairs.

“Barring violations of the limits provided by law and the Constitution, we should take care not to substitute our exercise of discretion for his. As ‘the branch that knows least about the nationals security concerns that the subject entails,’ we cannot, in the words of Justice Scalia, just simply ‘blunder in,’” the SC also said.

Petitions vs Duterte

Associate Justice Marvic Leonen wrote a separate concurring opinion where he stated that while he agreed that matters within the President’s discretion cannot be subject of a writ of mandamus, he however takes exception to the main ruling’s “allusion that a sitting President cannot be subject to any type of suit.”

The justice cited his separate opinion in De Lima v. Duterte where he maintained that presidential immunity is not absolute. “It is merely immunity from liability, not accountability. The liability itself is not absolved, but merely deferred until the end of their tenure in office,” Leonen added.

Leonen and Associate Justice Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa dissented in the SC’s ruling on Sen. Leila De Lima’s motion for reconsideration on the dismissal of her petition for writ of habeas data against Duterte.

The SC has also dismissed the petition to compel the release of Duterte’s medical bulletins and pleas challenging the Philippine government’s withdrawal of its ratification of the Rome Statute that established the International Criminal Court.

BBM paid taxes, documents show

By Jomar Canlas, TMT, December 6, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — PRESIDENTIAL aspirant Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. settled his tax dues in compliance with a 1995 court ruling, documents issued by the Supreme Court and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) said.

The documents, copies of which were obtained by The Manila Times, bolster the argument that there is no legal impediment to the presidential candidacy of Marcos.

The standard bearer of the Partido Federal ng Pilipinas is facing several petitions before the Commission on Elections seeking to cancel his certificate of candidacy.

One of the petitions contend that he is not qualified to run for president because he was convicted by a Quezon City court for tax evasion after he did not file income tax returns from 1982 to 1985.


Marcos brought the case before the Court of Appeals which in October 1997 cleared him of tax evasion charges, ruling that he was not given due notice of the tax assessment.

The court, however, sustained Marcos' conviction for not filing his tax returns and fined him P36,000

Marcos wanted to appeal the conviction and had asked the Supreme Court for an extension to file a petition for certiorari. He eventually withdrew the petition and opted to settle his tax liabilities which ran up to P67,137.27.

An official receipt issued by the Land Bank of the Philippines with receipt number 10622824, dated Dec. 27, 2001, showed that Marcos paid the sum in full.

Copies of BIR payment forms numbered 0605 and 1904 confirmed that payment was made.

In a separate document, then Supreme Court Deputy Clerk of Court and Chief of the Judicial Records Office Teresita Dimaisip sent a copy of the entry of judgment to the camp of Marcos, Court of Appeals, and the Solicitor General in connection with the former senator's case in December 2001.

"This is to certify that on Aug. 8, 2001, a resolution rendered in the above-entitled case was filed in this office..." the entry of judgment read.

Dimaisip sent the copies on Nov. 5, 2001.

She also certified that the resolution has "become final and executory [on Aug. 31, 2001] and is hereby recorded in the Book of Entries of Judgments."

On Sunday, Marcos said this will be the key to the country's progress after the pandemic.

He cited his recent trip to Cebu with Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio where they were greeted by thousands of supporters. He said that it gave him "hope that the unity being shown by the people will usher the country to a brighter future."

Marcos said his latest visit to Cebu gave him the opportunity to meet the members and officials of the League of Municipalities during their regional planning conference in Region 7 who voiced their support for his tandem with Duterte-Carpio.

He said that the "historic joining of forces of the BBM-Sara UniTeam supporters signaled the country's triumph over the challenges brought about by the pandemic."

"Only together as a unified nation shall Filipinos be victorious during and after the pandemic," Marcos said in a statement on Sunday. WITH BERNADETTE E. TAMAYO

Army relieves Robin Padilla, Herbert Bautista, other reservists running in ‘22 polls

By Martin Sadongdong, Published December 7, 2021, 1:06 PM MB

MANILA, Philippines — [The] said relief of position does not relieve them of being in the Reserve Force of the Philippine Army,” Colonel Xerxes Trinidad, PA spokesperson, told reporters Tuesday, Dec. 7.

Relieved from their posts were actor Capt. Robin Padilla, former chairperson of the Army’s Multi-Sectoral Advisory Board – Strategic Communications Committee (STRATCOMM-MSAB); actor-turned-politician Brig. Gen. Herbert Bautista, former brigade commander of 1502nd Ready Reserve Infantry Brigade in the National Capital Region (1502 RRIBde); and Col. Isidro Ungab, former brigade commander of the 2002ndRRIBde in Davao City.

Also relieved were Lt. Col. John Tracy Cagas, former battalion commander of the 1101st Ready Reserve Infantry Battalion (RRIBn) in Davao del Sur; Lt. Col. Eugene Balitang, former battalion commander of the 1404th RRIBn in Ifugao; Lt. Col. Jayvee Tyron Uy, former battalion commander of the 1103rd RRIBn in Davao de Oro; and Lt. Col. Rhodora Cadiao, former commanding officer of the 602nd RRIBn in Antique.

According to the Army, both Padilla and Bautista are seeking Senate seats while Ungab is running for reelection as the representative of Davao City’s third district.

Cagas, on the other hand, will run as a representative of the lone district of Davao del Sur; Balitang will vie for a seat at the Lower House to represent the lone district of Ifugao; Uy is joining the Davao de Oro gubernatorial race; and Cadio is seeking reelection as Antique governor.

Meanwhile, Lt. Gen. Andres Centino, Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and concurrent Army Commanding General, reiterated the Army’s non-partisanship in the coming polls which led to the relief of the military reservists.

“We assure the public that as a professional organization, the military will be non-partisan. We will perform our mandate of ensuring fair elections,” Centino said.

He also directed all Army units and personnel to “avoid engaging in partisan politics, maintain professionalism while performing their duties, and avoid posting photos or videos that express political gestures.”

Soldiers and other law enforcers are prohibited by the Omnibus Election Code to engage in any partisan political activity including campaigning for any candidate.

Galvez all praise for priest-molecular biologist helping in COVID-19 response

By Martin Sadongdong, Published December 7, 2021, 12:09 PM

MANILA, Philippines — Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. heaped praises on molecular biologist Father Nicanor Austriaco on Monday night, Dec. 6, for helping the country address the challenges of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Austriaco, who is in the United States while developing a COVID-19 vaccine for the Philippines, was admired by Cabinet members after he attended as a guest speaker during the recent “Talk to the People” public address of President Duterte.

The University of Santo Tomas (UST) researcher discussed to Duterte the Omicron variant and allayed public fears on the new strain of the coronavirus.

“Sir, actually sir, Father Austriaco is helping us all throughout even though he is in States. He is with us every Monday talking about COVID-19. And also he helped Quezon City, sir, on the vaccination,” Galvez told President Duterte.

Apparently, Austriaco also communicated with various priests and other religious organizations to allow churches to be made as vaccination sites.

“So we opened more or less 187 churches as vaccination sites during the campaign, and Father Austriaco is very, very instrumental on that, Mr. President,” Galvez added.

In the same public address, Duterte urged Austriaco to stay for good in the Philippines as he quipped him to be the Department of Health (DOH) Secretary in replacement of Secretary Francisco Duque III.

The President said Duque has expressed intention to “rest” numerous times after battling allegations of corruption in the DOH’s procurement of medical supplies.

Austriaco, however, refused the offer and said Duque was already doing a good job addressing the pandemic in the country.

South Korea’s offer to rehabilitate Bataan Nuclear Power Plant still stands, says PNRI exec

By Charissa Luci-Atienza,  Published December 6, 2021, 8:08 PM MB

The offer of South Korea to rehabilitate the mothballed Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) still stands, the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PNRI) said Monday, Dec. 6.

DOST-PNRI Director Dr. Carlo Arcilla said the South Korean government remained interested in rehabilitating the Bataan plant which has been mothballed since 1986.

He said South Korea’s BNPP rehabilitation proposal has been submitted to the Department of Energy (DOE).

“South Korea has offered to rehab our BNPP, may offer sila, nandun po sa DOE (they have an offer, it is with the DOE),” the PNRI top official said in a virtual presser on Monday as part of the DOST-PNRI’s Atomic Energy Week celebration.

He said the BNPP may be rehabilitated in four to five years.

“There is an active proposal from the South Korean government to rehabilitate and they said, can we rehabilitate it with the budget of between 1 to 1.2 billion dollars. This is the cost of one coal plant for the same output and they can do it even five years,” Arcilla said.

“But, before you do that there will be many things, first example, you might create amendments in the EPIRA law because the EPIRA law prohibits the government from owning power generating units. How will that interact with the current EPIRA Law, that has to be studied? There will be legal things,” he said.

Arcilla said the revival of the BNPP is the “fastest route to start nuclear” in the Philippines.

The $2.3-billion BNPP is located in Morong, Bataan. It was completed in the 1980s under the leadership of late President Ferdinand E. Marcos.

The BNPP was set to generate 623 megawatts of electricity.