MANILA — Detained Anakpawis lawmaker Crispin Beltran today expressed opposition to the move of the National Telecommunications Commission to require all cellular phone manufacturers, dealers and users to register their units and pay P150 for every phone registered.
Beltran said that the NTC’s justification that the registering the cell phones would help put an end to problems such as smuggling, terrorism, theft and text spamming attributed to mobile-phone use sounded all well and good on paper, “But in reality registering cellphone units will not do anything given the low level of technology the country has. It’s doubtful that cellphone registration will help curb crime, for instance, cellphone theft and the sale of stolen units,” he said.
” So far the NTC has done a poor job of regulating the telecoms industry and the major telecoms company and their excessive profiteering schemes . The NTC should instead focus on measures to bring down the costs of cellular phone services and the abuses of the telecom firms. Also, why charge cellphone distributors and users for the registration? If there are over 40 million cellphone users in the country, requiring them to pay P150 each will rake in a pretty hefty sum for the NTC. This latest scheme sounds suspiciously like a major racket aimed at generating funds for the commission”
“Cellphones are not deadly weapons like guns that need to be registered; but if the NTC is saying that cellphones can be used in the conduct of crimes, then it is up to the Philippine National Police (PNP) to investigate these crimes and go after the perpetrators. The NTC appears to be going beyond the scope of its powers, but without really performing its main task of protecting cellphone users from telcom’s excessive fees and charges , fraudulent ads that are circulated through texting, and cellphone scams.”
“There is also the possibility that the privacy of cellphone users will be violated or threatened by the mandatory registration. The NTC should not implement or impose this mandatory registration scheme without consultations from consumers rights’ groups and their legal counsels.
Beltran said that Anakpawis will file resolution in congress calling for an inquiry into the limits of the NTC’s authority and its right to charge cellphone users any amount for any kind of registration, and where the NTC intends to use the money it intends to charge.#