Gatchalian wants to scrap expiration of prepaid load credits
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Sherwin Gatchalian is seeking to remove the expiration period of all prepaid load credits used for telecommunications services.
Gatchalian has filed Senate Bill No. 365, or the Prepaid Load Forever Act of 2019, which aims to prohibit public telecommunications entities (PTEs) and information communications technology (ICT) providers from imposing an expiration period on prepaid load credits and their forfeiture.
Under the measure, PTEs cannot impose an expiration period on the validity of unused prepared load credits, whether purchased via prepaid card or electronic load.
PTEs and ICT providers are also prohibited to forfeit prepaid load credits on an active account, except for the purpose of availing the number portability service. They cannot also refuse to give refunds to any subscriber whose load credits were forfeited without any valid reason.
Gatchalian explained that at present, there is a one-year validity period for prepaid load credits of all PTEs and ICT providers with a denomination of P300 and above.
This was stated under the Joint Memorandum Circular No. 05-12-2016 of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), and the Department of Trade and Industry. The circular excludes prepaid load purchased for promos and buckets of services with specific period of use approved by the DTI and/or NTC.
The senator also noted that his measure covers all prepaid load credits, including those loaded to devices to used for other telecommunication services such as tablets, Wi-Fi dongles, or mobile hotspots. The bill also includes transferred or shared load credits.
“Every peso spent by the consumer to purchase prepaid load credits must be usable until fully consumed,” the senator said in a press statement on Thursday.
He added that the bill could impact 142,432163 prepaid subscribers, which accounts for 96.6 percent of the total number of mobile subscribers in the country, who stand to lose their hard-earned prepaid load credits due to non-use before the expiration date. /jpv
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