MANILA — Sen. Grace Poe on Thursday urged authorities and telco firms to intensify the crackdown on text message scams.
Poe, chair of the Senate Committee on Public Services, said she also received several unwanted text messages from prepaid mobile phone numbers promising jobs, extra income, and freebies.
"The unabated surge of text scams has brought further hardship and distress on our people who are already mired in debts. This must stop," she said in a statement.
"As more rely on digital technology to cope with the hard times, so must we intensify all necessary safeguards against heightened risks that can overturn our people's efforts at recovery," added the lawmaker.
The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) earlier directed Globe, Smart, and DITO to warn their subscribers against fake jobs offered through text messages.
But Poe said the scam continued to persist. She urged telcos to beef up their efforts to block SIM cards clearly used for crime.
"Hindi natin dapat hayaang patuloy na pagpiyestahan ng mga manloloko at sindikato sa likod ng mga text messages na ito ang mga kababayan nating lugmok pa rin sa hagupit ng pandemya at tumataas pang presyo ng langis at bilihin," Poe said.
(We must not let syndicates and scammers behind these text messages to make victims out of our countrymen who continue to suffer the ill effects of the pandemic and soaring prices of goods.)
Poe said a discussion of the SIM Card Registration bill by the incoming 19th Congress would help institutionalize protection for mobile phone users in the country.
President Rodrigo Duterte in April vetoed the proposed measure, saying further study was needed on a provision on the registration of SIM Cards for social media accounts.
"The whole of government must ensconce a safer and more secure digital and mobile phone use in the country to protect our people from falling deeper into poverty and helplessness," Poe said.
— With a report from Sherrie Ann Torres, ABS-CBN News