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The House Committee on Information and Communications Technology, chaired by Rep. Victor Yap (2nd District, Tarlac) has approved a substitute bill, seeking the establishment of a “No Calls and No Text Registration” System to protect phone subscribers from solicited calls and spam text messages.

Under the proposed measure, the National Privacy Commission (NPC) shall have the responsibility to establish a “No Calls and No Text Registry” system, which will ensure that the identity and privacy of the persons registered are kept highly confidential. As such, only their phone numbers may be accessed from the registry.

Any phone subscriber may manage and limit the outbound and unsolicited calls and texts that he/she shall receive through registration of his telephone number in the Voice Call Register and/or No Text Message Register of the NPC.

To register, a subscriber needs to present a government identification card and proof of exclusive ownership over a particular phone number. The subscriber must also pay a fee, to be determined by the NPC.

For minors, or those below 18 years of age, registration of their mobile numbers may be done by their parents or legal guardians.

Numbers registered in the No Calls and No Text Registry shall not be changed or removed except upon the request of the owner in writing. Invalid or disconnected phone numbers may be changed or removed upon adequate validation of the NPC.

The bill prohibits unsolicited calls and text messages to be made or sent to the numbers on the registry.

Any person who wants to call or send text messages to numbers in the registry is also required to register his number. Non-registration of the unauthorized caller and/or sender as required under Section 10 of the Act shall not be an excuse from liability.

The Public Telecommunication Entity (PTE) or content provider which shall give the special access number of their subscribers without their consent to commercial or marketing agencies shall be held liable under the Act.

The PTE or content provider shall also be required under the bill to provide a mechanism for subscribers who have decided to opt out anytime from broadcast messaging services they are receiving.

The opt-out mechanism must enable the subscriber or recipient to indicate, at no cost, the decision to no longer receive any commercial or promotional advertisement or push message from the PTE or content provider.

Any person who violates the provisions of the law or its implementing rules and regulations shall suffer the penalty of a fine ranging from P50,000 to P100,000 for each violation. In the case of juridical person, the officers directly responsible for the violation shall pay the same fine.

The bill declared that it is the policy of the State to protect the interests of mobile phone subscribers and promote general welfare vis-à-vis unsolicited commercial speech; establish a standard of conduct for business and industry in sending messages to subscribers; promote the fundamental rights of the subscriber to privacy; and protect subscriber from unwanted calls and texts and inducing purchase of goods or services and solicitation.

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