“No family should lose a mother, a father, a son or a daughter for their phone.”
The statement is likely to have come from a local person in authority reacting to the ever-rising prevalence of cellular phone theft in the country.
The quote actually comes from American prosecutors asking, even demanding, that mobile phone manufacturers make stealing a phone an exercise in futility.
I am sure the sentiment resonates strongly with those who have either been victims of phone thieves or have relatives, friends or coworkers injured or killed for their mobiles.
Many thieves no longer go for cash and prefer to grab smartphones for personal use or easy cash through people who will buy anything cheap, regardless of how it was obtained.
I know how people get so attached to their phones that are the repository of almost everything important to them. I have twice found phones left in taxicabs. In both cases, the owners were students.
The first one belonged to a high school student who, our receptionist recalled, showed much gratitude and emotion when she got the gadget back.
The other phone was left by a student from the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City. She could not wait for me to bring it to the office two days after I found it. She took a cab that same evening from UP to my place in Malate, as soon as she found out I had her phone.
I even got calls from her parents who called separately to confirm whether I had their daughter’s phone.
We usually tell people to just give a thief whatever he/she needs—cash, phone, jewelry—and not to resist or fight. But these two incidents showed that cell phones have become so indispensable to many people that common sense is totally forgotten when they fight for their gadgets.
The willingness of thieves to use violence to grab a phone has become so alarming that American law enforcement authorities have been demanding for months that phone makers install a “kill switch” to make gadgets useless to anybody once these are stolen.
The switch should make a gadget inoperable even if factory default settings are restored or the subscriber information module (SIM) card is changed.
Samsung Electronics, reputed to be the world’s No. 1 mobile phone maker, has equipped its new Galaxy 5S with features that will lock the gadget if there is any attempt to reset it.
Mobile phone networks in the United States however, are reportedly against the idea of “killing” a mobile gadget, wanting users to be able to transfer from one carrier to another effortlessly.
But American prosecutors are adamant. According to media reports, they maintain that “manufacturers and carriers need to put public safety before corporate profits and stop this violent epidemic, which has put millions of smartphone users at risk.”
Following a proposal to raise Manila littering fines as part of the campaign to reduce waste, reader Emil Esquejo suggests that “government officials and private citizens alike should… look (into) reducing waste in fast food chains. Food wraps, disposable cups with caps should be for takeout orders only and should not be used” when clients eat in the establishments.
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