CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- Authorities raided on Friday several mobile phone shops and confiscated some 800 “fake” cellular phones worth P 1.5 million here and in nearby Angeles City.

Headed by National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) Regional Director Azor Sitchon and Superintendent Francisco Esguerra and Inspector Albert Andasan of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG-3) office based in Camp Olivas, the raiding team swooped down on 28 cellular phone shops owned and operated by Filipino-Chinese traders inside the public market and in some malls like GQ, Robinsons Starmills, Robinsons Balibago, Nepo, Jenra, SM City Pampanga and SM City Clark.

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Sitchon said his office received complaints from concerned individuals that several cell phone shops located in the two cities have been selling “fake” China phones, while a number of these shops reportedly lack the necessary permits issued from NTC.

He said the 800 confiscated “fake” China phones do not have NTC sticker, which means they were smuggled and not registered at their office.

Sitchon said that most of the cell phone shops do not possess the necessary permits from the NTC, while some have expired licenses.

“The owners of these shops have violated RA (Republic Act) 3846 or the Radio Control Law, which has a corresponding penalty of P 5,000 for each unit (cellular phone). They will be given 10 days to settle the fines or penalties at the office, if they fail to do so, we (NTC) will file appropriate charges against them and the fake phone will be confiscated in favor of the government,” Sitchon said.

“We are just enforcing the law and being the government regulatory body in terms of communication, we must look after the welfare of the public. I advice cell phone buyers to ask for a receipt and to make sure that the phone they are buying has the NTC sticker, this will ensure them that what they are buying is the real thing and is covered by a warranty,” Sitchon added.

On October 14, 2009, Sitchon issued Mission Order 09-10-168 directing NTC personnel to inspect all radio communication network to include AM/FM radio stations, Lotto Outlet, CATV, Local Government Units (LGU), radio dealers, service centers, mobile phone dealers and service center, broadcast low power FM/ISP/Maritime/LEC/ Cell Sites/ Microwave/ Trunk/Radio/Bank/VSAT and Private Radio Station System within the Province of Bataan.

Also last year, the NTC headed by Sitchon with the assistance of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in Olongapo City raided cellular shops located in the Dinalupihan Public market.

The raid netted some 488 “fake” China phones that were being sold to the public by Pakistani and Indian traders. Each confiscated phones were fined P5,000 each. (Chris Navarro)