It has been two weeks since President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. signed his first law which was meant to stop privacy violations and scammers laugh at it as they continue their evil deed.

The law’s implementing rules and regulations are still being drafted, and scammers are not showing signs of slowing down in their evil campaign.

For a while, we thought the spread of spam text messages or smishing would die down or die as telecommunications companies and government agencies took action. Smishing is a form of cybercrime where a text message with the recipient’s name prompts the individual to click on the link to reveal more personal information such as credit card numbers and passwords.

On October 10, 2022, Marcos signed the SIM Card Registration Act, his first law, in an effort to prevent cybercrimes. The law requires buyers and current holders of SIM cards to present a valid identification document and for telcos to keep the list of holders. If ordered by the court, the telco must give the SIM card owners’ full names and addresses.

Of all the urgent needs of Filipinos, such as to control the prices of goods and services and address poverty, Marcos chose this as the first piece of legislation of his administration. This reflects a disconnect between the priorities of his administration and the people.

And the law did not stop smishing. This week I started to receive again those pesky messages with my name in capital letters and a link that you click to lead to a dubious website or app. These scammers are making a mockery of the new law and are doing their evil deeds with a vengeance as I have seen a resurgence in scam text messages.

For a while, after Supreme Court Justice Marvic Leonen posted on social media about personalized text scams and how these were “very dangerous” privacy violations, Globe Telecom and Smart Communications and the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) and National Privacy Commission took action. Government agencies issued warnings and promised investigations, and GCash made the names of recipients unreadable by replacing letters with asterisks. Then, the NTC ordered telcos to disable the clickable links in text messages.

The clickable links disappeared for a week or two. They stopped, then, they reappeared. This time with a slight innovation to go around restrictions. This raises doubts if the law could stop the illegal practice.

Messages I received last week still carried my name but the hyperlink has been masked with numbers or letters that do not look like a website address but those alphanumeric characters are clickable.

The advice of regulators to recipients of such messages is the same. Block the sender on your phone and delete the message. You may decide to report it by going to

Scammers mocking the law means the telcos and the government agencies have to be wiser, more creative, and resourceful in seeking ways to end text scams, and they should be serious about protecting the privacy rights of individuals.