NTC orders Facebook, Shopee, Lazada to stop sale of text blast machines

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 13) — The National Telecommunications Commission has ordered leading e-commerce platforms to stop the sale of SMS blast machines as these are unauthorized.

The NTC issued show cause as well as cease and desist orders to Facebook (Marketplace) Philippines, Shopee Philippines, and Lazada Philippines after advertisements for the sale of SMS blast machines were found available in the sites.

“The NTC has not authorized the importation, manufacturer, sale or distribution, or type approval of the abovementioned equipment,” it said.

The agency added the sale “appears to violate” the Radio Control Law and other rules and regulations, including its memorandum order on the prohibition of portable cellular mobile repeater and portable cell site equipment.

Officials of Shopee, Lazada, and Facebook were directed to appear before the NTC on Oct. 27. They were also asked to explain in writing within 15 days from the receipt of the order why they “should not be held liable for such violations as well as subject the violative products or equipment to confiscation or forfeiture.”

The three companies were also instructed to stop the sale of similar equipment regulated by the NTC.

This move came after emergency text alerts were issued to the public last week, promoting the 2022 presidential bid of former senator Bongbong Marcos. The NTC has ordered an investigation on the matter.

According to NTC Deputy Commissioner Edgardo Cabarios, it is possible that the alerts came from portable cell sites, but he noted the probe might take some time to confirm this.

Marcos has denied his team’s involvement, saying sending such texts brings him no advantage.