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STOP UNWANTED TEXT MESSAGES – VILLANUEVA

The National Privacy Commission’s meeting with telcos to strategize how text spams can be tripped from the carrier’s end is just one in the to-do list to stop unwanted text messages, Sen. Joel Villanueva said.

“Umaasa po tayong magkakaroon ng malinaw na action plan pagkatapos ang pulong ng mga telcos at Privacy Commissioner Mon Liboro. Nadidismaya po tayo na tila inaabuso ng iilan sa atin ang kakulangan sa trabaho at hanapbuhay upang man lamang sa kapwa,” Villanueva said, referring to Liboro’s announcement that he called on telcos to gather and find ways to stop text messages offering jobs from flooding consumers.

“A permanent solution requires three legs to stand on.”

“Any action from NPC is an administrative remedy. We need legislation and prohibition. A permanent solution requires three legs to stand on,” added the chair of the Senate labor committee.

The veteran legislator said one law that must be passed is the No Call, No Text, and No E-mail Registration System Act, which establishes a system of registries for subscribers who do not want promotional, solicitation and marketing messages.

“The bill will not only respect the privacy of consumers but compel marketing arms of companies to adopt responsible business practices.”

“The right of cellphone users not to be disturbed should be legislated,” the seasoned lawmaker said, adding that the bill will not only respect the privacy of consumers but compel marketing arms of companies to adopt responsible business practices.

“There should be a law that prohibits non-registered numbers using an automatic dialer or any electronic device that can blast messages to telephone numbers,” the senator added.

The House of Representatives in August this year passed on third and final reading House Bill 9608, or the proposed No Call, No Text, and No E-mail Registration System Act. The measure has been transmitted to the Senate for proper action.

He said that with the pandemic fueling the surge in e-commerce, solicitations are now done online, round the clock, “and one of its variants, robo texts, target a highly-saleable commodity: jobs needed by desperate people”.

Villanueva called on the NPC to stop the epidemic of text messages offering non-existent jobs.

While Congress works on this bill, the government, he said, should go after smugglers of banned text blast machines, a portal device that can transmit up to 100,000 texts an hour.

These machines work by tapping nearby cell towers or function as portable cell sites that can send out messages in bulk but not receive them.

The importation, manufacture, sale and distribution of such equipment are prohibited by the National Telecommunications Commission under its Memorandum Order 01-02-2013 titled “Prohibition of Portable Cellular Mobile Repeater and Portable Cell Site Equipment.”

Villanueva called on the Department of Trade and Industry to verify if online shopping platforms Shopee, Lazada, and Facebook Marketplace have taken down ads for text blast machines as ordered by NTC.

“Ang problema lang po kung wala na sa online platforms, the sellers will go underground. Lilipat puwesto lang po sila,” he said. “If this is the case, then the PNP should run after these sellers, and the Bureau of Customs should see to it that these are contraband that should not be smuggled into the country.”

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