NTC goes after sale of illegal text blaster machines

Published October 13, 2021, 12:52 PM

by MB Technews

NTC Office

The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) on Tuesday directed Facebook Marketplace, Shopee and Lazada to appear before the commission on Oct. 27 and explain in writing why they should not be held liable for the sale of illegal text blaster machines in their online shopping platforms.

The commission has not authorized the importation, manufacture and sale/distribution of text blaster machines and similar equipment, which have been found on sale in the online shopping platforms of the three.

“Any sale of such equipment appears to violate Act 3846 of The Radio Control Law as amended and various rules and regulations, e/g. NTC Memorandum Order 01-02-2013 entitled PROHIBITION OF PORTABLE CELLULAR MOBILE REPEATER AND PORTABLE CELLSITE EQUIPMENT,” the NTC said in a Show Cause Order signed by NTC Commissioner Gamaliel A. Cordoba and his deputies Edgardo Cabarios and Delilah Deles, sent to Facebook Marketplace, Shopee and Lazada.

Text blaster machines can send 100,000 texts an hour. Only the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council and other authorized state agencies in times of emergencies are exempted from their use.

“In view thereof, your company is hereby directed to appear, as Respondent, before this Commission on 27 October 2021 at 10:00 a.m. and to explain in writing within fifteen (15) days from receipt of this Order why it should not be held liable for such violations as well as subject the violative products/equipment to CONFISCATE/FORFEITURE.

The Commission said that failure of the three to answer within the period granted to them shall be considered a waiver of their rights to be heard, with the NTC rendering judgment as the law and evidence may warrant.

“Upon receipt of this Order, respondents are hereby directed to cease and desist from selling the above-mentioned and similar equipment regulated by the commission,” the Show Cause Order continued.

Last week, the NTC directed its Regulation Branch Director Imelda R. Walcien to investigate an “Emergency Alert” that may have used an illegal text blaster machine in an SMS blast indicating what appeared to be a message campaigning for one of the presidential candidates.