DAVAO CITY, Philippines – A councilor from the city’s first congressional district is eyeing to pass an ordinance that aims to penalize prank callers to the city’s 911 emergency hotline number.
Lawyer Luna Acosta, head of the city council’s Committee on Peace and Public Safety, said “nuisance calls to 911 should be properly addressed and those who constantly abuse this privilege (should) be penalized.”
In 2022 alone, Central 911 received a total of 394,531 phone calls but only 48,816 or 12.37% were emergency reports while 60% were considered prank or nuisance calls from people who immediately hang up, breathe heavily on the line, ask ludicrous questions, or make up emergencies that took up most of the time for the responders to answer.
Acosta said frequent prank calling disrupts the hotline’s purpose to accommodate legitimate calls and respond to emergency situations in the city.
“There is a need to remind Davaoeños that the Central 911 Hotline is for emergency purposes only characterized by those urgent need to access medical care, report accidents or safety issues such as possible fire or the need to prevent criminality and address a real and impending danger to one’s self or to others,” she said.
In a privilege speech during the council’s regular session on March 7, Acosta proposed the ordinance to deter pranks or nuisance callers through the help of telecom companies with assistance from the National Telecommunications Commission. The proposal, she said, was considered on the first reading.
Part of the provision she eyes to include is to block the number of prank and nuisance callers from accessing the emergency hotline anytime, noting that the local government has its own hotline number for various concerns posted on social media. (davaotoday.com)