Law’s disconnection notice

While the “SIM Registration Act” is the first bill signed into law, there were five earlier congressional bills the President vetoed. Around that time horizon, seven executive orders were signed instead, a likely indication of a — brand of leadership, a hierarchy of value, preferred modality — in the field of policy or rulemaking,

Strangely, it isn’t one of 19 priority measures that FM Jr. sounded off in his State of the Nation Address. Neither does it come close to his three priority bills on E-Government, E-Governance, and E-Commerce out of the sixteen others nor any of the now eight EOs so far inked.

FM Jr. is well-advised to heretofore pursue goals as outlined in his SONA so that people’s expectations come tangent to his official acts or pronouncements; with nothing off the grid. The “unlucky-14” whom CA bypassed arguably betray the claim that his men are the “best and the brightest”; thereby probably requiring a pool of “stand-by alternates.”

This early, it’s sad to see that the suit of the new executive secretary doesn’t fit him either with his uncharacteristic rebuff against those who called for public accountability relative to the Singapore trip. Truly, one cannot acquire that cavalier attitude to readily dismiss such concern of critics as “irrelevant” to inform taxpayers.

Similarly, the new SIM-card law is hardly the best specimen of a well-thought-out legislated enactment; quite bereft of any valid impetus to inform good governance since issues raised (i.e. spams, scams, spoofing) reflect empty rhetoric. If the business of government proceeds in a manner incompatible with prescribed public values (i.e. rights, freedom, situation ethics), it creates a little dent in people’s lives, not the least, alters the dynamics of a free-market economy.

A cursory reading of the (self-)Explanatory Note of House Bill No. 14 alone presents the whole landscape and nothing points in the direction of a dangerous road in the increasing sale of prepaid SIM cards for any law to regulate. Why should Congress have to mess with — “the law of supply and demand” over the sale of prepaid SIM cards to deprive of “credit-type use” of mobile telephony over 150 million users/subscribers?

The presidential legal counsel may not have been consulted to give the green light on this piece of public law before FM Jr.’s signature. Here are a few problems that a hodgepodge of law — a refiled bill and vetoed by then President Duterte — cannot resolve when things go South, viz:

First, no vetted studies support the intuitive argument behind such a law but mounting empirical evidence proves the contrary. First of such study has arrived at this conclusion, viz: “The introduction and adoption of mobile phones led to a decrease in crime.” Therefore, since mobile telephony lowers crime or “crime rates could drop by about a third across all crime categories” per that study on the link between mobile phones and crime deterrence, then perhaps, an immediate revisit is called for.

Second, since prepaid SIM cards are the key to the “world-wide-web”, wholesale deactivation means unquantifiable opportunity costs/losses across demographics inimical to a desired multi-dimensional order in the information and communications world. A more humane law shall deliver us from the evil of “mass disconnection” come to D-Day when this law is finally enforced. No doubt, it sends — street-level bureaucratic “shark attacks effect” — in our political beach.

Third, is not the infantile law tad unconstitutional as it tends to violate privacy, snoop into larger networks, and a Sword of Damocles upon netizens or their communities or service providers? As basic as it goes, no government in the “internet-of-things” can control crime, only the criminal.

Fourth, with no more credit-type subscription that immensely benefits the greater mass of mobile phone users and consequent migration from prepaid to postpaid, pray tell this isn’t class legislation or regulatory capture at its corporate womb. Even worse if Adam Smith’s proverbial “invisible hand” actually threw a larger net where large revenue streams flow, is it?

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