‘Di dapat gawing biro! Fresnedi signs ordinance penalizing prank callers
Minors who make prank calls to any emergency hotlines in Muntinlupa City may face withdrawal of their scholarship grant from the local government under a new ordinance signed by Mayor Jaime Fresnedi.
Muntinlupa City Ordinance No. 2020-141 or the Anti-Prank Callers Ordinance prohibits malicious and improper use of Muntinlupa City’s emergency hotlines and to ensure that the local government can urgently respond to emergencies and crisis situations.
Under the ordinance, making a false request or false alarm of an emergency will be penalized. Other prohibited acts include: willful conveying of fraudulent report to cause confusion or panic, making a malicious call to trick someone with the intention to threaten, harass, intimidate, or solicit any comment, request, or sound obscene and indecent, and repeatedly initiating unnecessary calls without speaking, deliberately hanging up or breaking the service connection as or after the call is answered.
Violators will face a penalty of up to P5,000 or imprisonment of 30 to 90 days. The number used to make the prank call shall be the primary determinant of the person to be prosecuted under the local ordinance.
For violators who are minors, a mandatory whole-day seminar shall be imposed by the Muntinlupa City Department of Disaster Resilience and Management (MCDDRM) for first offense. Violating minors shall also face withdrawal of scholarship gran from the local government or incur P300 penalty (non-grantee) for second offense, and P500 for third and succeeding offenses. The fine shall be charged against the minor’s parents or guardians.
Fresnedi said emergency hotlines established by the city government for responding to emergencies shall be free from receiving unnecessary calls at all times. He said they will be partnering with the National Bureau of Investigation (NBl), National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), and Philippine National Police (PNP) for the identification of prank callers.
Last month, Muntinlupa City launched its local Emergency Hotline “137-175” in a bid to streamline the reporting of emergency cases and incidents, including quick response for emergency rescue cases which require police assistance, firefighter rescue services, traffic rescue services, and ambulance medical services.