by Susan C. Aro / PIA
Sablan officials passed a measure that aims to protect the soon-to-be-installed emergency hotlines used for reporting crimes, disasters, calamities, and other emergencies that require immediate response.
Municipal Ordinance 13-06, which penalizes persons who make prank calls to emergency hotline numbers of government and private entities in Sablan, was forwarded to the Benguet Provincial Board’s committee on peace and order for favorable review and recommendation.
The measure aims to discourage people from engaging in senseless calls using emergency hotlines.
Pranksters sometimes clog emergency lines, depriving legitimate callers from reporting events that need immediate attention. They also create confusion and chaos due to misinformation.
The ordinance provides individuals who engage in prank calls will be identified through caller ID and voice recording, which can serve as prima facie evidence in filing complaints and issuing warrants against them.
Violators will be fined P2,500 or imprisonment for a period not exceeding nine months, or both at the discretion of the court.
Prank calls are initiated by individuals who have nothing to do but sow misinformation or annoy the person or agency they are calling.
The Department of the Interior and Local Government has been urging local government units to pass measures penalizing individuals who carry out prank calls.
In the Philippines, 117 is the most popular emergency telephone number, which is mainly managed by the DILG.
The Philippine National Police adopted the number in its Patrol 117 where the public report crimes, among other things.