• Town set to penalize telephone pranksters

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    LA TRINIDAD, Benguet: Municipal officials of Sablan, Benguet have enacted an ordinance to protect the soon to be installed emergency hotlines for reporting crime commission, disasters, calamities and other emergencies that require immediate response.

    The said ordinance penalizes persons who make prank calls to the emergency hotline numbers of government and private entities in the town.

    The measure, which passed through provincial board deliberations, was forwarded to the committee on peace and order for review and recommendation.

    The Department of Interior and Local Government attests to the effectiveness of emergency hotlines to curtail crime commission and speedily address emergency situations.

    This covers the hotlines of the Bureau of Fire Protection, Philippine National Police, Local Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council, among others, that provide quick response to emergency situations.

    But there are people who engage in senseless calls using emergency hotlines that clog emergency lines, which deprive legitimate callers and also create misinformation.

    As indicated in the measure, pranksters will be identified with the help of a caller identification system and a record of the conversation.

    The recordings would serve as prima facie evidence once a complaint is filed against a prankster.

    Violators will be slapped with a fine of P2,500 or imprisonment for a period not exceeding nine months or both at the discretion of the court.

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