Tuesday, July 23, 2024

With 175-0 vote, House approves bill against spam messages

The House of Representatives has approved on third and final reading a bill seeking to establish the ?No Calls, No Text? registration system and penalize its violators.

Voting 175-0, with no abstention, the lower chamber approved House Bill No. 7321 which seeks to establish a listing of phone subscribers who can opt out of receiving calls or texts regarding the sale of goods or services.

Tarlac second district representative Victor A. Yap, who co-authored the bill, said that the bill is a step towards freeing consumers from ?unsolicited, unnecessary, and unwanted communication.?

?We should ensure that communication technology won?t be used to defraud our citizens. This bill can do that by ensuring that repeated and unwanted contact by offenders through telephone services will be punished severely,? said Yap, who also chairs the ICT Committee.

Under the bill, commercial or promotional advertisements can only be sent to subscribers who have given prior consent or specifically opted-in to receive such messages. These must also contain an accurate description of the identity and contact number of the telco that sent the message.

To register for the ?No Calls and No Text Registration System?, subscribers would have to present a government-issued ID, proof of exclusive ownership over a particular phone number, and pay a fee. This fee will be determined by the National Privacy Commission (NPC), which will is tasked with keeping the identity of registered individuals confidential.

For those who wish to avail of this service but are below 18 years of age, registration of their mobile numbers may be done by their parents or legal guardians.

Under the proposed measure, local telcos or content providers will be required to provide a free and easily accessible mechanism for subscribers to opt out of marketing-related communication.

Telcos or content providers will also be held liable if they are found providing commercial or marketing agencies special access to their subscribers without the consent of the latter.

The bill also states that any person who violates its provisions or implementing rules and regulations will 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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