Bayan Muna seeks probe into text blast of pro-Marcos message from emergency frequency

Published October 6, 2021, 4:52 PM

by Ben Rosario

House Deputy Minority leader and Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate and Bayan Muna Chairman Neri Colmenares on Wednesday, Oct. 6 sought an immediate investigation into the alleged “hijacking” of emergency alerts frequency which was used for a campaign message for the presidential bid of former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.

Emergency alert

The two Bayan Muna officials said the Department of Information and Communications Technology and National Telecommunications Commission should explain to the public the truth about the incident.

Many mobile phone users received simultaneous “emergency alerts” almost immediately after Marcos filed his certificate of candidacy for president on Wednesday morning.

However, instead of the usual emergency alert reminder, the text that were blasted was that of a pro-Marcos message.

Zarate and Colmenares stressed that this clearly indicates that there has been an interception of the frequency used by the government in sending out emergency advisories to the public.

They decried the action as “dangerous” to public safety.

“This casts serious doubt on the integrity of the system, which people are supposed to rely on for life-saving information. Aside from the NTC and the DITC, Congress should also probe this underhanded style of campaigning,” said Zarate.

For his part Makabayan senatorial bet and Bayan Muna chairman Neri Colmenares said that ‘if Marcos indeed hijacked the airwaves to campaign then their greed to return to Malacanang by hook or by crook should really be stopped.” It was Colmenares who principally authored R.A. 10639 which mandates NTC, National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) and Telcos to issue text alerts during times of disasters and calamities.

“If they indeed hijacked the Bayan Muna authored law for emergency alerts, then they should be investigated. When we authored the bill my intention was to help save lives. Not to be used for vested personal interest of politicians,” he stated.