Pacquiao Files Bill to Scrap Validity Periods of Prepaid Loads

Senator Manny Pacquiao has filed a bill to prohibit the imposition of expiration period on the validity of mobile phone credit and the forfeiture of unused load credits of prepaid mobile users.

“This will ensure that every peso spent to purchase load credits [is] saved and usable until the day the credits are fully consumed,” Pacquiao said in the explanatory note of his Senate Bill 2231, which was filed this month.

Pacquiao cited a 2013 report of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) showing that there are approximately 100 million mobile phone subscribers in the country, with around 80 million of those using prepaid load.

“The large number of prepaid subscriptions has earned the Philippines the top spot on the world-wide list of countries with the most prepaid users,” Pacquiao said.

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“Recently, however, there have been rampant complaints that prepaid subscribers do not get the full value of the load credits that they paid for because of the expiration of prepaid call and text cards and forfeiture of un-utilized load credits,” he said.

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Currently, the expiration period of prepaid call and text cards is two years while load credit’s expiry ranges from 1 day to 120 days depending on the denomination.

Under SB 2231 to be known otherwise as the “Prepaid Load Protection Act of 2014”, telecommunications companies offering prepaid services can be penalized for the following:

  • Imposition of an expiration period on the validity of unused prepaid call and text
  • Forfeiture of load credits stored on an active prepaid phone account via prepaid call and text card or electronic transfer
  • Refusal to give a refund to any prepaid subscriber whose load credits were forfeited without any valid cause.

Penalties range from a fine of P500,000 to the revocation of licenses for the telecommunications companies as well as a fine of up to P1 million or two years of imprisonment for the directors and officers of telecommunications companies.

Pacquiao crafted a bill after hearing that some of his private employees are complaining that their prepaid loads are gone.

“Marami na rin kasing nagrereklamo, especially dun sa mga tao ko, na kinakain ang load nila kahit di nagagamit. Mayroon ding nagsabi na nagload sya ng para sa Internet, nanood lang ng video sa FB ubos agad”, Pacquiao said.

The senator expected that his proposal would pass in the Senate. /Lea Lara/

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