Telcos battle illegal cable cutting

Local telecom and cable providers have formed a coalition for the “Oplan Kontra Putol” campaign, in an intensified battle against illegal cable cutting.

Perpetrators intentionally cut cables and wires, often selling them for profit.

“This illegal act robs our customers of the steady internet and cable TV service they need for entertainment and access to information and disrupts connectivity required for work,” according to the manifesto signed by representatives of local telcos.

The signatories include PLDT, Smart Communicatuons Inc., Globe Telecom, Inc., Metroworks ICT Construction, Inc., Radius Telecoms, Inc., Streamtech Systems Technologies, Inc., Philippine Cable and Telecommunications Association, Inc. and Sky Cable Corporation.

Power utilities providers Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) and National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) have also joined the coalition and expressed support for Oplan Kontra Putol.

The campaign involves deploying security and patrolling systems, a tighter collaboration with local authorities and government units, on top of a comprehensive consumer education program.

The group also called on law enforcement agencies to implement Republic Act No. 10515 or the Anti-Cable Television and Cable Internet Tapping Act of 2013, which criminalizes intentional cable cutting.

At present, perpetrators of such incidents usually face charges ranging from theft to qualified theft, or malicious mischief, which are all covered by the Revised Penal Code.

The group also calls on barangays and LGUs to encourage their constituents and communities to be vigilant and to immediately report suspected and actual incidents of intentional cable cutting to local officials, local police, and respective service providers.

In June of this year, PLDT’s Asset Protection & Security Risk Governance (APSRG) organized and launched the National Telecommunications Security Council (NTSC).

The informal group consists of Corporate Security Professionals from the different telcos, sharing information and coordinating activities against cable theft.

Year-on-year, PLDT logged a 422-percent increase in apprehensions related to incidents such as theft between January to July 2021 and January to July 2022.

The rate of apprehensions exceeds the 59-percent increase in loss incidents for the same period. These incidents involve network equipment, such as cables and batteries, among others.

PLDT’s intensified asset protection initiatives also include the use of analytics in allocating security resources and teaming up with “force multipliers” in local government, police, and other industry security groups.

These efforts have resulted to the reduction of loss incidents (down 55 percent) and increase of apprehensions (up 45 percent) between April and July 2022 alone.

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