Not smart to have 'text for worthy cause' now--Smart

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 30 2008 06:12 PM | Updated as of Oct 01 2008 02:13 AM

Smart Communications said Tuesday that Senator Richard Gordon’s proposal to use text profits for education programs will only cause more inconvenience to consumers and cell phone users.

Smart Communications spokesperson Ramon Isberto explained that Gordon’s proposition is untimely given the current business environment. He said that what is more important at the moment is to come up with promotions that will lessen the cost for Short Messaging System (SMS) charges.

"We will have to study the bill. But generally, the question to ask is -- is it the right time to be imposing additional taxes on either consumers or businesses? Mahirap ang panahon ngayon. Generally, additional costs to companies will mean additional costs to customer services. What we've been doing is introducing packages that make texting cost less than P1. Yun ang nakakatulong," he said.

Fight corruption instead

Rep. Mariano “Jun” Piamonte, sectoral representative of the A-Teacher party list shared Isberto’s view, saying the problem of corruption should be addressed instead.

"Sigurado raw ipapasa na naman ito sa tao. Dapat ayusin na lang ang tax collection at alisin ang corruption," he said.

Gordon had filed Senate Bill 2402, which proposes that 20 percent of profits of telecom companies from text messaging be allocated to a special fund that would solve the country's problem in education and health. He said that it will be headed by the secretary of education, directors of public and private schools, the telecom sector, and parent-teacher associations.

According to him, the program will last for five years. However, Gordon stressed that there is no need to raise prices for text messaging since it will be funded by the telecom companies.

The senator said that telecom companies rake in P2B in SMS charges annually with P200M going to advertisement and promotions. 

"Ilan ba ang mga ginagawang promotion ng telcos? Lahat ng convention may banners ang Smart at Globe. Lahat ng tourism Smart, Globe. Lahat ng malalaking artista Smart, Globe. So ang sinsabi ko, bawalan ang promotion, ibigay sa edukasyon. Huwag na kayong magdagdag at ipasa sa consumers," sabi ni Gordon.

He added that the P200 million daily will help boost the country's campaign for a world-class education system, solving the country's backlog in classrooms and providing more health services to the poor.