NTC Goes After Facebook, Lazada, and Shopee for Text Blasting Machine Listings

by Jal Cutaran  October 13, 2021

The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has filed show cause and cease and desist orders against Facebook Philippines, Lazada Philippines Inc., and Shopee Philippines on Tuesday. NTC is commanding the three online platforms to appear in front of the commission on October 27 and explain in writing why they should not be held liable for the presence of text blasting machines for sale on their platforms.

NTC Text BlastingWith the elections nearing, the NTC has vowed to look for these illegal machines that are not new to the election scene where candidates and their parties use these for their advantage. The agency, however, did not need to look far as these machines appeared to be readily available to anyone by simply searching for these on Facebook Marketplace, Lazada, and Shopee.

In a Show Cause Order signed by NTC Commissioner Gamaliel A. Cordoba and his deputies, it is stated that, “Any sale of such equipment appears to violate Act 3846 of The Radio Control Law as amended and various rules and regulations, e/g. NTC Memorandum Order 01-02-2013 entitled PROHIBITION OF PORTABLE CELLULAR MOBILE REPEATER AND PORTABLE CELL SITE EQUIPMENT.”

“In view thereof, your company is hereby directed to appear, as Respondent, before this Commission on 27 October 2021 at 10:00 a.m. and to explain in writing within fifteen (15) days from receipt of this Order why it should not be held liable for such violations as well as subject the violative products/equipment to CONFISCATE/FORFEITURE,” the Commission further added.

According to NTC, these text blasting machines are being sold on the said platforms for Php 200,000 to Php 3,000,000 and can send up to 100,000 text messages an hour. Only the National Disaster Risk Reduction (NDRRMC) and authorized state agencies in times of emergencies are exempted from the use of these machines.

In addition to these, these machines do not need a SIM card to work, thus making them virtually untraceable on cellular networks, and can operate using a range of frequencies.

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