Solon hits lack of implementation of free mobile disaster alerts | Inquirer News

Solon hits lack of implementation of free mobile disaster alerts

By: - Reporter / @NCorralesINQ
/ 03:30 PM April 18, 2015

A lawmaker on Saturday questioned the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) for the lack of an approved implementing rules and regulation (IRR) 10 months after the Free Mobile Disaster Alerts Act or Republic Act No. 10639 was passed in Congress.

Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares said that no IRR had been promulgated for the 10-month-old law.

Bayan Muna Representative Neri Colmenares. INQUIRER file photo

Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares. INQUIRER file photo

In a letter addressed to Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba of the NTC, Colmenares, one of the authors of the law, said that while his office recently received a copy of the draft IRR of RA 10639, he questioned a provision of the IRR “requiring the people to buy cell broadcast compatible SIM cards if they wish to receive the supposedly free alerts.”


This means that people who want to receive disaster alerts need to buy a new SIM card.


“This provision may be a transgression of the law as it violates the statutory requirement that the warnings should not entail direct or indirect cost to subscribers,” he said, citing he was alarmed by the said provision.

“It should be noted that ‘cell broadcast’ is part of the GSM Standard and in turn part of the basic service to be provided by telcos and a change of SIM card is not needed in order to avail of such service,” he added.

According to him, there is no reason for the telcos to profit from the implementation of the law.

He cited that during the committee deliberations of the said law, the telcos said they could “provide the said alerts at no cost and has in fact entered into agreements with NDRRMC for the dissemination of free alerts even prior to the passage of RA 10639.”

Colmenares also questioned the reason for the delay in promulgating the IRR, citing that telcos had said that “there is no hindrance, technical or otherwise, to transmitting disaster alerts as they have been doing this long before the law.”

“I am deeply alarmed by this provision and if there would be massive loss of lives due to the lack of implementation of the said law, we will be constrained to take proper action against those responsible for excluding the victims from the benefits of the law,” he said. RC

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TAGS: law, Mobile, typhoons

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