House bill seeks creation of private registry for phone subscribers

The House committee on information and communications technology, chaired by Tarlac representative Victor Yap, has approved a substitute bill seeking the establishment of a registry system that will protect phone subscribers from solicited calls and spam text messages.

mobile spam

Authors of the bill include deputy speaker Linabelle Ruth Villarica and representatives Francis Gerald Abaya, Jose Antonio Sy-Alvarado, Ma. Lucille Nava, Rene Relampagos, , Manuel Jose Dalipe, Winston Castelo, and Yap, among others.

Under the bill, the National Privacy Commission (NPC) will put up a “No Calls and No Text Registry” system where the identity and privacy of the persons registered are kept highly confidential. As such, only their telephone numbers may be accessed from the registry.

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

To register, a subscriber needs to present a government identification card and proof of exclusive ownership over a particular telephone 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.

Telephone numbers registered in the “No Calls and No Text Registry” cannot not be changed or removed except upon the request of the owner in writing. Invalid or disconnected telephone numbers may be changed or removed upon adequate validation of the NPC.

Any person who wants to call or send text messages to numbers in the registry is also required to register his number. Telcos cannot also give the special access number of their subscribers without their consent to commercial or marketing agencies.

Telcos are also 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.

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.

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