DICT proposes ‘MTRCB’ for internet amid ‘pandemic of text scams’

Warren de Guzman, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 14 2022 08:38 PM

MANILA - An official of the Department of Information and Communications on Wednesday proposed an ‘MTRCB’ for the content on the internet amid the rise in the volume of SMS or text scams.

DICT Undersecretary Alexander Ramos, who heads the agency’s Cybercrime Investigation and Coordination Center, aired the proposal during Wednesday’s House hearing on what he dubbed “a pandemic text scams.”

The MTRCB, or the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board, assigns ratings to films and TV shows which restrict what type of audience these movies and shows can have. 

Ramos recommended that lawmakers explore the set up of a rating system so that government may inform the public properly about the content and risks they may encounter online when downloading apps, visiting websites, or viewing videos and consuming other content. 

“The content creators could be anybody who wants to put information online. How do we categorize them? High risk, low risk, medium risk? There are certain content creators who really protect their subscribers or their readers. But we don’t have, kumbaga sa TV, wala tayong MTRCB. We should have the same,” Ramos told legislators. 

The DICT said it will be holding an interagency meeting Thursday to also align efforts against targeted smishing and the like. 

“Our Secretary Ivan Uy, who is overseas right now, has issued us a memorandum that, to have an interagency meeting tomorrow to thresh out all of these issues, so that we will have one unified response to the, this pandemic of text scams,” Ramos said.

Meanwhile, congressmen are looking to consolidate several bills meant to curb the proliferation of text scams and other cybercrimes. 

These proposals are expected to work in tandem with plans to enforce mandatory SIM registration, and will include new penalties for cyber crimes which are enabled through calls, texts, and emails.

Albay Representative Joey Salceda enjoined telcos DITO, Globe, and Smart to provide law enforcement agencies a single unified hotline number that is easy to remember, so the public can report all of the text scams and cybercrimes they encounter.

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