NTC probes pro-Marcos emergency text blasts

The National Telecommunications Commission has ordered an immediate investigation into the alleged use of emergency alert texts to push the presidential candidacy of Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the only son of the late Philippines’ dictator.

Several individuals complained about receiving text messages following Marcos’ filing of candidacy for the 2022 presidential race.

NTC deputy commissioner Edgardo V. Cabarios said the matter is now under investigation, but a check with the National Disaster Risk Redeuction and Management Council said the text blasts didn’t come from them.

Cabarios said the mobile text alerts must have come from illegal channels.

“It’s prohibited under the existing rules, except NDRMC allows to acquire it for emergency purposes. In this particular case, kung sa portable cell sites, it’s illegal,” Cabarios said.

Under the Free Mobile Disaster Alerts Law, “warning messages must be hazard-specific, time-bound, and area-specific.”

Penalty for individuals is P2,000 per violation and P5,000 per violation for corporations.

“We expect a report anytime this week. Mahirap itrack yan. It’s not impossible but it’s difficult,” Cabarios said.

Former Bayan Muna partylist Rep. Neri Colmenares, who authored the Free Mobile Disaster Alerts Law, expressed concern over the use of the government-managed alert system for vested personal interest of politicians.

“As author of the text alerts law, I am concernced about this. Either the BBM [Bongbong Marcos’] camp uses the emergency SMS facility of the government or they are misrepresenting as an emergency alert what is clearly a political ad. It is a dismay that there are candidates like this,” he said.

“If Marcos indeed hijacked the airwaves to campaign, then their greed to return to Malacañang by hook or by crook should really be stopped,” Colmenares said.