SENATOR Sherwin Gatchalian has filed a bill that seeks to remove the expiration date and forfeiture of prepaid load credits.
In his Senate Bill 365, or the Prepaid Load Forever Act of 2019, filed before the 18th Congress, Gatchalian wants all public telecommunications entities (PTEs) and information and communications technology (ICT) not to impose expiration date and forfeiture of prepaid load credits.
Under the measure, prepaid load credit is defined "as the monetary value or the consumable amount loaded via prepaid card or electronic load to a device that enables a subscriber to use telecommunications services."
“This bill makes it a prohibited act to impose an expiration period on the validity of all denominations of prepaid load credits -- whether purchased via prepaid card or electronic load -- and the eventual forfeiture of such credits on an active prepaid account,” he said in a press statement.
The measure also prohibits the PTEs and ICT from imposing forfeiture of load credits on an active prepaid account, except for the purpose of availing of the mobile portability service.
The PTEs and ICT are also required to refund any prepaid subscriber whose load credits were forfeited without any valid case.
“Every peso spent by the consumer to purchase prepaid load credits must be usable until fully consumed,” said Gatchalian.
He said what makes his bill different from other measures filed in previous Congresses is that it covers all prepaid credits loaded to any device, not just for call or text. This, he said, covers transferred or shared load prepaid credit.
He said around 142,432,163 prepaid users, or 96.6 percent of the total number of mobile subscribers in the country would benefit from the measure.
At present, a prepaid load of P300 and above has a validity of only one year, based on the Joint Memorandum Circular 05-12-2017 of the National Telecommunications Commission, the Department of Information and Communications Technology, and Department of Trade and Industry.
The circular does not cover prepaid loads bought for promos and buckets of services with a certain period of use. (Ryniel Berlanga/SunStar Philippines)