Last month, cell phone thieves killed Today assistant business editor Jose Luis Villanueva after he refused to give up his Nokia 7610. I later learned from a reporter friend who worked with Jose Luis in the information technology beat that the cell phone was just lent to him by a Smart Communications so he could review the new Nokia model’s features and write about it.
A day earlier before Jose Luis met such a sade fate, GMA Iloilo newscaster Chris Misajon was shot by cell phone robbers after he tried to fight the attackers. He died a two days later while being treated in a hospital.
Earlier victims of cell phone thieves even included a priest, as reported last week by “Imbestigador ng Bayan” segment of GMA-7’s 24 Oras newscast.
Despite efforts such as the blocking of stolen cell phones by the National Telecommunications and the mobile carriers or the Philippine National Police’s “Oplan Tatak,” the almost daily news of cellphone snatching give the impression that the government is unable to curb this problem. Indeed it looks like it cannot do much to help the citizens of the world’s texting capital.
While statistics from the the Philippine National Police show only 914 cases of cellphone snatching was reported this year, even its officials admit the actual figures is much higher than that. An group called Organisasyon ng mga Galit sa Magnanakaw or OGSM reportedly said during a recent Senate hearing that half a million cellphones are stolen every year.
Inquirer reported that Senator Manny Villar said he is considering filing a measure to help lessen or prevent incidents of cell phone theft in the country. We have yet to see what kind of law Villar and his colleagues could make given the current situation.
For now, we could only take our own personal measures to take care of our cell phones–and ourselves.
CELLULAR PHONE HEARING: Police Chief Supt. Wilfredo Dulay, Deputy Director-Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management, looks stunned by the barrage of questions from senators as he testified before a Senate hearing on the proliferation of mobile phone snatching incidents in the country. Sen. Manuel Villar Jr., chairman of the committee on public order and illegal drugs, led the questioning along with Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Roldolfo Biazon and Jinggoy Estrada. Dulay, who represented PNP chief Director General Edgar Aglipay, cited statistics on the increasing number of cell phone thefts. The hearing was conducted to find measures to protect the citinzenry from cellular phone theft and the consumers from substandard products.( Senate Photo: Joseph Vidal-PRIB)