Friday, May 31, 2024

House ICT panel OKs bill creating ‘No Calls and No Text” registry

The House Committee on Information and Communications Technology (ICT) has approved a substitute bill seeking to provide for the establishment of the “No Calls and No Text Registration Act.”

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The committee chaired by Rizal representative Joel Roy Duavit approved the unnumbered substitute bill that aims to protect and promote the right of consumers to privacy and protect them from unwanted calls and text messages inducing purchase of goods and services, and solicitations.

The bill is in substitution of HB 1030 filed by Pasig Roman Romulo and House Resolution 86 by Quezon City representative Winston Castelo.

Romulo said the proposal would prevent unwanted calls and text messages that intrude, disturb and disrupt the activity of any individual, and require a more responsible and accountable business practice.

“The freedom of the business-oriented person or entities to promote and sell their goods and services ends where the freedom of individuals to privacy is exercised,” he said.

Through the enactment into law of the measure, Romulo said consumers will be protected from unsolicited calls and texts with an end in view of empowering them with the freedom to choose their transactions and maintaining consumers’ right to be let alone.

Castelo, meanwhile in HR 86, called for an inquiry into and a stop to the scheme of unscrupulous individuals who use fraudulent text messages to dupe unsuspecting consumers and con them of their hard-earned money.

The approved substitute bill provides that the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) will establish a ?No Calls and No Text Registry?.

The identity and privacy of the persons registered will be kept highly confidential such that only the telephone numbers may be accessed from the registry.

The bill provides that any person should register first with the NTC before he or she can access the telephone numbers in the ?No Calls and No Text Registry?.

The bill allows any person to register only up to three mobile phone numbers of the network provider, and that the registration of persons below 18 years of age may be done by their parents or legal guardian. Registration of fixed telephone numbers shall only be allowed for residential lines.

Outbound and unsolicited calls and text messages maybe managed or limited by any cellular telephone user by registering in the ?No Calls and No Text Registry? of the NTC, the bill provides. Furthermore, no outbound and unsolicited calls and text messages shall be made or sent to the telephone numbers on the NTC registry.

A person whose number is not registered in the ?No Calls and No Text Registry? may manage and limit outbound and unsolicited calls and text messaging through the use of the negative option feature.

The proposal also provides that it shall be unlawful to make an outbound or unsolicited call or text message without disclosing the full name of the caller or text sender, the company or organization for whose benefit the call or text is being made, and the telephone number of a fixed line where such identity can be established and verified.

The bill provides a prohibited call or text refers to a hoax, junk and scam call or text.

For penalties, the bill provides a fine of P50,000 to P100,000 for any offender.

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