Press Release
September 15, 2008


Telecommunication giants today agreed in principle to allocate part of their net revenues arising from local text messages to fund education and health requirements that would make our country at par with other developing nations.

Senator Richard J. Gordon, chairman of the Senate government corporations and public enterprise committee, said the three telecommunication giants--Smart Communications, Globe Telecom, and Sun Cellular--agreed to the proposal of sharing part of their revenues from local text messages to fund the Health and Education Acceleration Program (HEAP).

"The telcos (telecommunication companies) are not totally against this bill. In fact, they agreed in principle to support HEAP. After all, it won't really hurt them to share just a part of their big income," Gordon said after the second public hearing on Senate Bill 2402.

Senate Bill 2402 which seeks to create HEAP Corporation would lead the rehabilitation and acceleration of the country's educational system and health programs.

Under the HEAP Bill, every commercial mobile service provider shall be required to remit to the HEAP fund half or 50% of its net revenues arising from text messages.

The senator noted that telcos earn multi-billion a year from text messages alone. National Telecommunications Commission figures show that the three telcos earned P77 billion from text messages in 2007.

Assuming that there are 400 million text messages sent per day at P1.00 for every text message, and half of the earnings, or P200 million a day, are given to the HEAP Corporation, it would be enough to address the country's backlogs in education and health infrastructures, Gordon said.

Government figures show that the country suffers from an existing classroom backlog of 12,418 rooms at the cost of P6.95 billion; provide the needed 1,744,237 school seats at P1.39 billion; and 44,200,000 textbooks for all students at P2.78 billion.

Gordon said he believes that telcos are spending too much on advertising and promotions, which could still be adjusted and put into other more important programs such as HEAP.

"What we're asking for is only half of their revenues from local text messages. They even spend billions in promotions, which are not really needed since these are established companies already. Why not join in this measure which will ensure quality education for our children," he said.

Although the original proposal is to allocate to the corporation 50% of the telcos' revenues from text messages, Gordon said telcos expressed readiness to thresh out the details of the scheme in a Senate technical working group.

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