The Philippine Senate has passed Senate Bill No. 1697, called “The Anti-Theft and Robbery of Portable Telecommunication Devices Act of 2007,” prescribing stiffer penalties for gadget theft.
According to the bill, “any person convicted of the crime of theft and robbery of a portable telecommunication device shall be punished by the penalty next higher in degree than normal.”
Now the penalty for theft in the Philippines ranges from one day to ten years imprisonment, depending on the amount of the thing stolen. With the proposed bill, the penalty increases to a month to fourteen years and eight months, if the thing stolen is a portable telecommunication device.
With robbery, the penalty is increased to ten years to reclusion perpetual (and even death if the death penalty is restored), depending on the circumstances surrounding the robbery.
The bill defines a portable telecommunication device as cellular telephones, personal digital assistants, portable computers, two-way very high frequency (VHF) or ultra high frequency (UHF) radios and other portable communication equipments utilized to transmit messages, documents, photos, images, videos, or information through air, radio or satellite frequencies.
Sadly, the House of Representatives has to pass this bill before it becomes a law. But I’m keeping my fingers crossed.
The full text of this bill can be downloaded from the Philippine Senate Website here.