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Monday, July 15, 2024

Senators to NTC: Explain failure on SIM registration

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Senate President Francis Escudero and Senator Grace Poe voiced their frustration Tuesday with the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) over its perceived failures in implementing the SIM Card Registration Act, which has yet to prove effective in curbing text scams.

Escudero did not hold back, calling for the NTC to provide a clear explanation for their shortcomings in enforcing the law. Instead of making excuses, he said the agency should identify what resources or support they need to combat and eliminate this pervasive issue.

He was responding to a reported NTC statement that SIM registration alone is not a “silver bullet” against the increasing menace of text scams.

Despite acknowledging this, Escudero pointed out that while the NTC is not legally liable for the lackluster implementation, their inaction could be seen as a form of nonfeasance.

The Senate President urged the agency to proactively seek the necessary tools and support to fulfill their mandate effectively.

Poe, the former Senate Public Services Committee chairperson, echoed these sentiments. She pointed out in particular the alarming normalization of text scams and spams, questioning what the NTC has done so far to address this.

“What did it do against bad actors, including those in (the) POGO (Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations) hubs, who were caught with text blast machines and other violations?” she asked.

Poe’s comments followed the NTC’s downplaying of the SIM registration’s efficacy. She emphasized that the SIM Registration Act was intended to be a collaborative effort among all government agencies and sectors, with the NTC leading the charge against text scams.

She called for greater accountability from the NTC, criticizing their failure to meet even the minimum expectations. Moreover, she pointed out the cumbersome process mobile device users face when reporting spam or scam texts to telecommunications companies (telcos).

Poe stressed that combating text scams should be a shared responsibility between the NTC and the telcos under its watch. She urged for a more straightforward and effective mechanism for users to report scams and for immediate action to be taken against offenders.

Both senators emphasized that the NTC must be more proactive than the scammers they are up against. Escudero and Poe believe that the agency should spearhead the fight against this digital menace and not remain passive as text scams continue to plague unsuspecting individuals.

Poe also suggested that educating users about spam filters should be a key component of the NTC’s ongoing information campaign.

Editor’s Note: This is an updated article. Originally posted with the headline Senators slam NTC over weak enforcement of SIM Card Registration law


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