MANILA - Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian has filed a bill seeking the removal of expiration periods for mobile prepaid credits.
Gatchalian’s “Prepaid Load Forever Act of 2019” prohibits telecommunications firms from imposing an expiration period on the validity of all denominations of prepaid credits, whether purchased via prepaid card or electronic load.
The bill also prohibits telecommunications firms from forfeiting prepaid credits on an active account.
“Every peso spent by the consumer to purchase prepaid load credits must be usable until fully consumed,” Gatchalian said in the explanatory note of Senate Bill No. 365, filed last July 11.
At present, prepaid credits worth P300 and above have a 1-year validity period, based on a 2017 government memorandum circular.
The bill imposes a fine of P100,000 to P1 million or imprisonment of 2 to 6 years to any director, officer, employee of a telecommunications firm who shall violate its provisions.
Gatchalian noted that Globe and PLDT, the country’s leading telecommunications firms, have a combined prepaid subscribers of 142.43 million, which accounts for 96.6 percent of the country’s mobile users. The two firms have 5 million postpaid subscribers.