Poe to lead inquiry on missing, expiring prepaid load
The Senate will conduct an inquiry on Wednesday on complaints of vanishing prepaid load and poor service of telecommunication companies (telcos), among others.
“Matagal nang reklamo ng ating mga kababayan ang naglalahong load kahit hindi naman nila ginagamit,” Senator Grace Poe, chair of the Senate committee on public services, said in a statement on Sunday.
(Our fellow Filipinos have long been complaining about vanishing load even though they were not using it.)
Poe said the probe will tackle Senate Bill No. 848 or the proposed Prepaid Load Protection Act, which prohibits telecommunication companies from imposing an expiration period on the validity of prepaid load and the forfeiture of load credits.
“Kailangang mabigyan sila ng proteksyon dahil hindi biro ang perang pinambibili nila ng load para makausap ang kanilang mga mahal sa buhay,” the senator added.
(They should be given protection because they’ve been buying load just so they could communicate with their loved ones.)
Representatives from the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), telcos Globe and Smart and various consumer groups, were invited to the public hearing, Poe said.
The measure, authored by Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto, imposes penalties against telcos that include a fine of up to P1 million, and revocation of license, among others, if they commit any of the following:
1. Impose an expiration period on the validity of unused prepaid call and text cards;
2. Forfeit load credits stored on an active prepaid phone account via prepaid call and text card or electronic transfer; and
3. Refuse to give a refund to any prepaid subscriber whose load credits were forfeited without any valid cause.
Poe said the proposed legislation should deter telcos from unduly imposing additional burden on their subscribers.
The NTC should also broaden and strengthen its regulatory authority and oversight powers on telcos to protect Filipinos and improve telcos’ services, Poe added. je