Bill seeks to penalize emergency hotline prank callers

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 31 2022 10:16 AM

MANILA - Prank callers targeting emergency hotlines and disrupting government disaster response may soon be apprehended if the "Anti-Prank Callers Act" becomes law. 

Paranaque City 2nd District Rep. Gustavo Tambunting's House Bill 03851 or "An Act Penalizing Prank Callers to Emergency Hotlines" says prank calls are used by fraudsters to trick or fool someone to annoy, abuse, threaten, harass or solicit obscene comments or spread false emergency information.

The bill seeks to impose penalties of P5,000 for the first offense on top of jail time, P10,000 for the second offense with jail time and a P20,000 fine with jail time for the third offense.

"This bill supports the inherent nature of having an accessible nationwide hotline by providing penalties to persons who will intentionally make mischievous and malicious calls that will spoil the government resources and make ridicule them for their benefit/reasons," Tambunting's explanatory note said. 

"To uphold the reliability and integrity of this public service, this legislation is proposed to forbid and penalize prank callers for irresponsibly alarming the emergency hotline.“ he added.

Memorandum Order No. 0707-206 issued by the National Telecommunications Commission and Executive Order No. 56 "Institutionalizing the Emergency 911 Hotline as the Nationwide Emergency Answering Point, Replacing Patrol 117, and for other purposes" identified 911 as the nationwide emergency hotline.

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