Press Release
November 23, 2021


Senator Imee Marcos has called on the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) and National Privacy Commission (NPC) to solve the sudden rise of cybersecurity attacks on the public through spam messages.

"How did these smishers get hold of everyone's mobile numbers? We have to get to the bottom of this soon, after more than a month since these incidents were reported," Marcos, who chairs the Senate committee on economic affairs, said.

Smishing, short for SMS phishing, is the fraudulent practice of enticing people via text messages or mobile data apps to disclose sensitive personal data like passwords or credit card numbers, usually by offering employment, prizes, or discounts.

The Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 prohibits "unsolicited commercial communications" that disguise the source of electronic messages and are sent without the recipient's prior consent.

Although telcos have released advisories on how to handle these spam messages, Marcos believes that this is not enough to put an end to the problem.

"The NTC and NPC together with telco companies, banks, and online shopping platforms should develop a system that can block these spam messages so that no one could receive them," Marcos said.

Marcos also called for a stop to the "careless collection of mobile phone numbers for contact tracing purposes by requiring people to list them down on an open information sheet" before being allowed to enter banks, supermarkets, and other business establishments.

"This practice exposes the public to scammers. Businesses must find a way to do contact tracing more privately, especially for those whose mobile phones have no app to generate QR codes," she explained.


Nanawagan si Senador Imee Marcos sa National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) at National Privacy Commission (NPC) na agarang lutasin ang patuloy na paglobo ng cybersecurity attacks sa publiko sa pamamagitan ng spam messages.

"Paano nasisikwat ng mga 'smisher' na yan ang ating mga mobile number? Kailangang masugpo agad ang puno't dulo n'yan, at lampas na isang buwan ang nakararaan mula nang maireport ang ganitong mga insidente," diin ni Marcos, na chairman ng Senate committee on economic affairs.

Ang smishing o SMS phishing ay ang ilegal na pagkuha sa mga personal na impormasyon tulad ng password o credit card numbers gamit ang text messages o mobile data apps, sa pamamagitan ng alok na trabaho, mga premyo o diskwento.

Ipinagbabawal sa ilalim ng Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 ang "unsolicited commercial communications" na itinatago ang pinagmulan ng mga electronic messages at ipinadadala ng walang paunang abiso sa mga pinadadalhan nito.

Bagamat nagpalabas ang telcos ng mga abiso kung paano harapin ang ganitong mga 'spam messages,' hindi kumbinsido si Marcos na sapat na ito para malutas ang problema.

"Dapat makalikha ng isang sistema ang NTC at NPC kasama ang mga telco companies, mga bangko, at online shopping platforms na makakaharang sa spam messages para wala nang makatanggap nito," giit ni Marcos.

Nanawagan rin si Marcos na itigil na ang " walang ingat na pangungulekta ng mga mobile phone numbers para sa contact tracing, na inililista sa mga nakabuyangyang lang na mga papel" bago payagan ang isang tao na makapasok sa mga bangko, mga supermarket at iba pang mga establisimyento.

"Nagiging daan lang ito para malantad ang publiko sa mga scammer. Kailangang makahanap ang mga business establishments ng mas pribadong pamamaraan ng pagsasagawa ng contact tracing, lalo na para sa mga mobile phone user na walang app para makagawa ng QR codes," paliwanag pa ni Marcos.

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