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Solon files bill to scrap prepaid load expiry date

Posted On 2014 Aug 30
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Philippine President Benigno Aquino (2nd L) greets lawmakers after making a speech during his fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA) at the House of Representatives in Quezon City, Metro Manila July 22, 2013. (MNS photo)

Philippine President Benigno Aquino (2nd L) greets lawmakers after making a speech during his fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA) at the House of Representatives in Quezon City, Metro Manila July 22, 2013. (MNS photo)

MANILA (Mabuhay) – Las Piñas Representative Mark Villar has filed a bill seeking to scrap the expiry date on prepaid call and text cards that forfeits load credits to the detriment of consumers.

Under House Bill 4782 or “Prepaid Load Protection Act of 2014,” setting an expiration period on unused prepaid call and text cards, as well as forfeiting load credits stored on an active prepaid phone account, and refusing to refund any prepaid subscriber whose load credits have been forfeited without any valid cause are deemed unlawful.

We have to protect the interest of our consumers. And sa akin naman usually, a lot of consumers here are ‘di naman sila mayayaman,” he said.

The proposed bill has good intentions but Congress has to consider a number of things, like carrying costs, National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) said in the same report.

Carrying costs, or the average cost of operating and maintaining the subscriber’s network, amount to P3-4 a day, according to 2012 NTC data.

Baka tumaas ang carrying cost ‘pag nag-iwan ng kakaunting load sa SIM pero hindi gagamitin. Lugi din ang mas madalas na gumagamit ng cellphone,” NTC director Edgardo Cabarios said.

Kung dumami ‘yan at hindi naman gagamit ng network, baka naman ‘yung gagamit ng network, sila ang mag-subsidize sa mga hindi gagamit,” he added.

Congress also has to take into account the earnings of prepaid load sellers and the limited cellphone numbers allotted to the country, Cabarios said.

Basta’t may load maski piso lang, hindi mo pwedeng tanggalin sa network ‘yun kasi active siya. Baka maubos ang cellphone numbers,” he noted.

Out of the 800 million to 900 million cellphone numbers in the Philippines, 110 million is currently in use.

In May, a similar bill – SB 2231 or  “Prepaid Load Protection Act of 2014” – was filed by Senator Ralph Recto.

Kabataan Rep. Terry Ridon also filed House Bill 4380, or the “Affordable Mobile Service Rate Act” in the same month, which seeks to implement a standard rate of mobile phone service fees, which could lead to possible rate reductions for text messaging, voice calls and even mobile data connection. (MNS)

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