Eight-Digit Landlines, Higher ATM Transaction Fees, Harsher Penalties For Bank Hackers, And Other Financial News

NTC to change PH landline numbers to Eight-Digit format in October

All telephone numbers with area code (02) such as landlines for Metro Manila, parts of Cavite, Laguna, and Bulacan are being changed from a seven-digit combination to eight-digit format.

The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has issued an advisory ordering local telecommunication companies to migrate the existing 7-digit telephone numbers to 8-digit telephone numbers within the area code “02”, effective October 6, 2019, in the areas of Bacoor, Cavite, Metro Manila, Rizal Province, and San Pedro, Laguna.

To efficiently allocate exchange codes, the NTC issued Memorandum Order No. 10-10-2017 last October 27, 2017. The memorandum directs all of the country’s telecommunications providers to migrate their customers to 8-digit telephone numbers.

The commission has assigned a Public Telecommunications Entity (PTE) identifier to each of the PTEs operating and providing local telephone service within the “02” local exchange area. You can find these identifiers in the table below.

Public Telecommunications Entity (PTE) Identifier
Bayan Telecommunications, Inc. 3
Eastern Telecommunications Philippines, Inc. 5
ABS-CBN Convergence, Inc. 6
Globe Telecom Inc. / Innove Communications, Inc. 7
PLDT, Inc. / Digital Telecommunications Phils., Inc. 8


  • 3000-YYYY to 3499-YYYY – Bayan Telecommunications, Inc.
  • 5700-YYYY to 5999-YYYY – Eastern Telecommunication Philippines/ Telecommunications Technologies Philippines Inc.
  • 6000-YYYY to 6699-YYYY – ABS-CBN Converge, Inc.
  • 7XXX-YYYY – Globe Telecom, Inc./ Innove Communications, Inc.
  • 8XXX-YYYY – PLDT, Inc./ Digital Telecommunications Philippines, Inc.
PTE / Service Provider Identifier Old Landline New Landline
Bayan Telecommunications, Inc. 3 (02)123-45-67 (02) 3123-45-67
Eastern Telecommunication Philippines/ Telecommunications Technologies Philippines Inc. 5 (02)123-45-67 (02) 5123-45-67
ABS-CBN Converge, Inc. 6 (02)123-45-67 (02) 6123-45-67
Globe Telecom, Inc./ Innove Communications, Inc. 7 (02)123-45-67 (02) 7123-45-67
PLDT, Inc./ Digital Telecommunications Philippines, Inc. 8 (02)123-45-67 (02) 8123-45-67

PTEs are advised to properly disseminate the information regarding the latest changes on their respective exchange codes to their customers.

For a period of three months after the migration (March 18, 2019 to June 17, 2019), dialing the old seven-digit number will result in the playing of a special announcement stating that the format has been changed to eight-digits.

The migration is scheduled on March 18, 2019, from 12 AM to 5 AM, so affected customers may experience downtime during these hours.

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P3 ATM Transaction Fee hike for some banks greenlit by BSP

ATM fees could go up to P3 per transaction as soon as the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas permits some banks to raise ATM fees.

As we previously reported, back in August, the BSP lifted a moratorium given in 2019 that suspended ATM fee hikes. These fee hikes will only apply if a client is trying to use an ATM other than one that their main bank owns.

Now, according to BSP Deputy Governor Chuchi Fonacier, they have already approved the requests of a few banks to raise their fees for ATM services. More than 10 banks have reportedly applied for an ATM fee increase as this is supposed to allow them to recover operating costs.

Fonacier stressed, however, that the BSP only gave approval for a P3 increase. She did not name the banks who got approval, stating that it was the duty of the bank itself to let their clients know about the changes.

Meanwhile, the BSP is suggesting that the banking public try other electronic banking channels.

“Our call for the public is to keep an open mind in considering other channels, electronic channels, and other modes of banking such as online banking, InstaPay, PESONet, QR codes,” said Fonacier.

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New law declaring hacking of banking systems a form of Economic Sabotage signed

The President has signed a new law declaring the hacking of banking systems a form of economic sabotage.

The law will impose stiffer penalties on individuals who hack bank accounts and for credit card, automated teller machine (ATM) card, and debit card fraud.

On August 28, 2019, Republic Act (RA) No. 11449 was signed into law. This amends many of the provisions of RA No. 8484 or the Access Devices Regulation Act of 1998.

Section 1 of the law reads in part: “The commission of a crime using access devices is a form of economic sabotage and a heinous crime and shall be punishable to the maximum level allowed by law.”

Access devices, as defined by the law, include any “card, plate, code, account number, electronic serial number, personal identification number or other telecommunications service, equipment or instrumental identifier or other means of account access that can be used to obtain money, goods, services or any other thing of value or to initiate a transfer of funds (other than a transfer originated solely by paper instrument).”

Prohibited acts, as enumerated under Section 9 of the law, include the ATM card skimming, banking system hacking, and counterfeiting of credit or debit card.

Under the new law, if one is found guilty of “economic sabotage” they will face life imprisonment and P1-5M fine. Previously, the fine was only P10,000 or twice the value obtained through the offense and six to 20 years of imprisonment for access device fraud.

According to the new law, possession of at least 10 counterfeit access devices and/or unauthorized access devices, with which at least one account was illegally accessed will be penalized by a fine of at least P500,000 and imprisonment of 12-20 years.

Possession of 10 or more counterfeit access devices, even if there is no proof that they were used to access any accounts, brings a penalty of six to 12 years imprisonment and P300,000 fine or twice the equivalent of the aggregate amount of all affected bank accounts, whichever is higher.

The use of fraudulent credit cards brings four to six years imprisonment and a fine equivalent to twice the value obtained.

Using even just one counterfeit device or possessing device-making or altering equipment brings 10-12 years of jail time and P500,000 fine or twice the value obtained, whichever is higher.

A penalty amounting to P800,000 or twice the value obtained, whichever is higher, and a jail term of 12 to 20 years will be meted against individuals who committed any offense under Section 9 of RA 8484, “which occurs after a conviction for another offense under the same section, or an attempt to commit the same.”

The law originated as House Bill No. 6710 at the House of Representative in February last year. On June 3 of this year, the Senate approved the bill on its final reading with 20 affirmative votes and no negative votes.

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IPR pushes for legislation to hold malls and e-Commerce sites liable for Counterfeit Items

An interagency group for intellectual property rights (IPR) protection and enforcement is pushing for legislation to make e-commerce sites and malls liable for the sale of counterfeit items.

In a press conference ahead of the National Committee on IPR’s (NCIPR) high-level meeting yesterday (September 26, 2019), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez who chairs the interagency said the group would advocate that mall owners and e-commerce sites would have third party liability for counterfeit items being sold in their stores.

“We will push for legislation that they will also be liable when there are sellers selling counterfeit so that they can help us self-police their ranks and sellers,” As per DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez.

NCIPR which formulates and implements plans and policies, as well as strengthens the protection and enforcement of IPR in the country, is composed of the DTI, Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL), Department of Justice (DOJ), Bureau of Customs, Bureau of Food and Drug Administration (BFAD), National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Philippine National Police (PNP), Optical Media Board, National Book Development Board, Office of the Special Envoy on Transnational Crime, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), and National Telecommunications Commission (NTC).

The NCIPR during the high-level meeting said that they will finalize an action plan to strengthen IPR protection and enforcement in the country and address various issues on use of unlicensed software by government agencies.

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Interest Rates Slashed for the Third Time This Year as Per The BSP

Interest rates were cut for the third time this year by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).

The 25-basis point cut made to the overnight borrowing rate brings the benchmark to 4%, from 4.75% in 2018.

As per BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno, the national bank was able to cut the rates due to signs of slowing inflation.

“The Monetary Board’s decision is based on its assessment that price pressures have eased further since the previous meeting,” BSP Governor Diokno said.

Despite the possibility that continuing tensions in the Middle East could cause the prices of oil to rise, and the effect the African swine fever epidemic may have on food prices, the BSP believes that inflation will settle somewhere at the lower end of the government’s target range of 2 to 4%.

The BSP last cut the overnight rate by 25-basis points in August, after the government announced that gross domestic product in the April to June quarter slowed to a 4-year low, dragged by the failure of lawmakers to pass the 2019 national budget on time.

Governor Diokno said the Monetary Board also sees prospects for global economic growth likely to remain weak owing mainly to the uncertainty over trade policies.

He even added that he wanted the RRR brought down to a single digit by 2023.