Bill penalizing spams and unwanted calls and texts readied for Lower House approval

Published June 27, 2021, 5:03 PM

by Ben Rosario

Sending unwanted calls, text messages and e-mail will be penalized under a bill strongly endorsed by the House Committee on Information and Communications Technology for passage when Congress sessions resume next month.

House Bill No. 9608 or the “No Call, No Text and No E-Mail Registration System and Providing Penalties for Violations Thereof” has been reported out by the House panel chaired by Tarlac Rep. Victor Yap.

The bill consolidated five legislative proposals filed by Reps. Precious Hipolito Castelo (2nd District, QC); Francis Gerald Abaya (1st District, Cavite); Roman Romulo (Lone District, Pasig City) and Yap.

Castelo, who filed two bills on the topic, underscored the need to immediately regulate the sending of spam messages, communications for marketing and propaganda gimmicks and other notes that have become obtrusive to one’s privacy.

“The vicious and unregulated bombardment of these texts or messages gets in the way of the free, open, clean and supposedly unobtrusive personal and private use of legitimate mobile phone subscribers of their units in ways that please or supply their needs,” she said.

Yap’s proposal seeks to establish a system of “No Calls, No Text and No e-Mail Registration” that will permit subscribers to manage and limit calls and text messages.

“It also aims to promote a fairer, more responsible and less intrusive practice of marketing,” he said.

Under HB 0297 filed by Yap, subscriber’s consent is required prior to the sending of promotional advertisements or messages.

Yap provides that the National Privacy Commission will establish the registry. Those registered will enjoy utmost confidentiality of their identities and those of their contact numbers.

Prohibited acts include making unsolicited call, text or e-mails to telephone numbers or email addresses listed in the registry.

The use of automatic dialer or any electronic device that automatically or randomly contacts telephone numbers is also banned.

In pushing for a similar bill, Romulo stressed that the measure is aimed at protecting the consumers from unsolicited calls and texts “with an end view of empowering them with the freedom to choose their transactions and maintaining consumers’ rights to be let alone.”

For his part, Abaya said: “It is imperative that phone users shall be given an option readily available to them to stop any unwanted call or text message in order to uphold their right and freedom to choose their transactions.”