A "severe” emergency alert text blast sent out to some journalists covering the filing of certificates of candidacy (COC) on Wednesday (October 6) at the Sofitel's Harbor Garden in Pasay is now being investigated.
With no looming natural disasters in the area, it turned out to be an ad for presidential candidate Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., who had just arrived at the site to file his certificate of candidacy (COC) for the upcoming elections.
“BBM has genuine interest for the welfare of the entire country. He intends to spend the rest of his life to serving his nation. BBM for the nation, for the people, and for the people. BBM for the people,” the text alert which ended with the hashtag #BBM2022 read in Filipino.
In a statement, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) denied it had in the emergency text blasts.
For its part, the National Telecommunications Commission already ordered an immediate investigation into the emergency texts, with telecommunications companies also denying any involvement.
According to a report from GMA News, NTC Deputy Commissioner Edgardo Cabarios said this might be in violation of the Radio Control Law as the emergency alerts might have come from illegal operations of portable cellsites.
Senatorial bet Neri Colmenares, who authored the law requiring NTC, NDRRMC, and telecommunication companies to issue text alerts during disasters and calamities said that the BBM camp is "is misrepresenting as an emergency alert what is clearly a political ad."
As author of the text alerts law, I am concerned about this. Either ginagamit ng BBM camp ang emergency sms facility ng gobyerno or they are misrepresenting as an emergency alert what is clearly a political ad. Nakakadismaya na may ganitong mga kandidato. https://t.co/uswR4eu3Y5
— Neri Colmenares (@ColmenaresPH) October 6, 2021
Commission on Elections spokesperson said that while "there is no penalty specifically for the use of emergency channels for campaigning," "it can be assumed that the emergency alert system operates under guidelines that would prevent the use of the system for non-emergency uses."
there is no penalty specifically for the use of emergency channels for campaigning - at least not under electoral laws; however, it can be assumed that the emergency alert system operates under guidelines that would prevent the use of the system for non-emergency uses. pic.twitter.com/9aKdDacRSa
— James Jimenez (@jabjimenez) October 6, 2021
Ana Catalina Paje is a development journalist passionate about grassroots communication geared towards genuine social change. She also writes about showbiz, lifestyle, and all things Pinoy pride. The views expressed are her own.
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