The Muntinlupa City government has approved an ordinance penalizing prank callers to its emergency hotline 137-175.
Mayor Jaime Fresnedi signed City Ordinance No. 2020-141 (The Anti-Prank Callers Ordinance), passed by the Muntinlupa City Council to prevent the malicious and improper use of the emergency hotline and to ensure that the local government can urgently respond to emergencies and crisis situations.
The city government launched the emergency hotline in September to improve the city’s immediate response in providing rescue, medical and police assistance.
Fresnedi warned violators the local government will be partnering with the National Bureau of Investigation (NBl), National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) and Philippine National Police (PNP) in identifying prank callers.
Under the ordinance, a prank call is defined as “making a false request or false alarm of an emergency will be penalized; willfully conveying false information, hoax or fraudulent report, or to cause confusion, inconvenience, distress, or panic; making a mischievous or malicious call to trick or fool someone with the intention to annoy, abuse, threaten, harass, intimidate, frighten or solicit any comment, request, suggestion, or sound obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, or indecent; or repeatedly initiate unnecessary calls without speaking, deliberately hanging up or breaking the service connection as or after the call is answered.”
Adult violators will be fined in the amount of P1,000 to P5,000, or face imprisonment from 30 to 90 days, or both. The number used to make the prank call will be the primary determinant of the person to be prosecuted, according to the ordinance.
For violators who are minors, a mandatory whole-day seminar will be imposed by the Muntinlupa City Department of Disaster Resilience and Management (MCDDRM) for the first offense. For the second offense, they face withdrawal of scholarship grants from the city government and non-grantees will be fined in the amount of P300. For the third and succeeding offenses, a fine of P500 will be imposed on violators. The fines will be charged against the parents or guardians.
Emergency calls received through the hotline are processed at the Muntinlupa City Command Center by designated officers from the MCDDRM, Muntinlupa City Rescue, Muntinlupa City Health, Muntinlupa City Traffic and Management Bureau, Muntinlupa City Police Station, and Bureau of Fire Protection-Muntinlupa for coordination to their respective units.