Press Release
July 18, 2012


"Ang pera, walang expiration date. Bakit ang load, na pera ng consumer, nag-eexpire?", asked Senate Committee on Public Services Chairman Senator Ramon Bong Revilla, Jr., in reaction to the National Telecommunications Commission's (NTC) plan to remove the expiration dates on prepaid cellphone load.

As he expressed support to the measure, Revilla urged the NTC to implement it as soon as possible. "The NTC said it would take them no less than two months to decide. That's too long. This is why I am writing the NTC as Chairman of the Committee on Public Services to ask them to submit their studies on the matter, and to expedite the process."

Earlier this month, the NTC announced their intention to follow the Department of Trade and Industry's (DTI) action to finally remove expiration dates on Gift Cheques and Gift Certificates, citing fairness and consumer welfare. In 2009, the NTC extended the periods of validity for prepaid cellphone credits depending on the value a consumer would load on his account. In addition to the extended expiry periods, the NTC ordered that unused credits in the previous top-ups would be added to new credits. The cumulative credits would then be the basis for the new validity period. Various consumer groups today are asking that the load validity periods be done away with totally. "Pinag-iipunan ng ating mga kababayan ang pang-load sa cellphone. Tinitipid din nila ang paggamit nito para hindi agad maubos, tapos, basta-basta na lang mawawala dahil nag-expire na ang load. Hindi ito tama," Revilla explained. "Pwede nating maintindihan kung para sa mga fixed-period promo yan, tulad ng call and text all you can, o kaya browse and surf all you can for one day, pero sa mga regular load, hindi dapat," he added.

Aside from the expiration of cellphone load, the lawmaker also demanded from the NTC to urgently address other mobile phone related complaints. He cited the statement of the Cellphone Owners and Users of the Philippines (COUP) regarding "illegal" charges of networks which include those for unsolicited messages, spam, interrupted or dropped calls, missed calls, and failed messages.

Revilla also pointed out the results of a survey conducted by the Computer Professionals' Union (CPU) that bared network access problems such as sending and receiving messages, and busy network on call attempts are still being experienced by mobile phone users. "In addition to this dilemma is the inaccurate billing. Mabibigla ka lang na mas mataas ang bill kaysa sa inaasahan mo. Puputulin ang linya kahit bayad ka na. Dapat resolbahin na ito ng mga telcos sa lalong madaling panahon," he added.

The senator also asked the NTC to provide updates on the lowering of charges for text messaging and the implementation of pulse metering on calls, which would replace per-minute charging for calls with a new metering rate of per-six seconds.

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