Ninety-five pecent of the initial calls received for the government’s public service hotlines “8888” and “911” were, guess what, prank.
On Tuesday, Philippine Long Distance Telephone company Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan said, “Actually, we expected that (receiving many prank calls),” on the sidelines of the telco giant’s briefing on its first-half financial and operating results.
Access to Hotline 117 was provided for free in both landlines and mobile phones at that time.
PLDT-Smart charges “911” and “8888” calls based on regular rates, and depending on airtime usage if one uses his/her mobile phone.
The company, however, is willing to provide free access to these hotlines if the government requires them to do so.
The Hotline 911 works 24/7 for crime prevention, geared to maintain order and public safety.
Hotline 8888, on the other hand, aims to reduce corruption and red tape in the government bureaucracy.
The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has earlier appealed to the public not to make prank calls.
Both the government and PLDT are discouraging prank callers, citing that someone in need might not be able to access the hotline at the same time pranksters are calling.
Both service was launched on Monday, 911 is the national emergency hotline number, while 8888 is the public’s hotline to air complaints against government officials or services.
Pangilinan said PLDT experienced the same scenario when the hotline 117 (same function as 911) was introduced during the Arroyo administration.
Access to Hotline 117 was provided for free in both landlines and mobile phones at that time. (Ma. Cristina C. Arayata)