Encouraging people to shift to another way of doing things is better achieved through a system of
rewards, not punishment.
And if the shift would mean savings to a service provider, the more compelling the reason
becomes to share such benefits to subscribers and other stakeholders.
It is simply ironic and outrageous for service providers like telecommunications companies to
pocket such gains and penalize its subscribers.
And so we agree with and support the initiative of a lady lawmaker in providing such protection
to telco customers.
After all, telcos operate as a matter of privilege and not a right. Such privilege is granted
through congressional franchises.
Senator Nancy Binay has called for an investigation into the P50 being charged to subscribers by
some telecos for declining to go paperless.
"Why not provide incentives to subscribers who agree to go paperless instead of punishing those
who refuse? Did these telcos think of the senior citizens and people living in areas where there is no
reliable internet connection when they decided to push this new billing system?" she asked.
The lady lawmaker has filed Senate Resolution 521 which called for an investigation into the
additional P50 being charged by Globe Telecommunications Incorporated and PLDT Incorporated to
subscribers who refused to go paperless.
"Mas mainam na hikayatin nila ang kanilang mga subscribers sa pamamagitan ng insentibo o promo
para pumayag ang mga ito sa paperless billing system na ito. Ngunit para sa ilang hindi naman techie at
wala namang access sa maayos na internet connection, sadyang hindi po ito makatarungan," said Binay.
Globe Telecom transitioned from its traditional paper billing of paperless or digital billing in
September 2016 while PLDT Inc. started charging an additional P50 to its new subscribers who refused to
go paperlessas of July 8, 2017.
Binay maintained that the additional charge for the paper billing Globe postpaid and PLDT
subscribers were not in accordance with Republic Act 7394 otherwise known as the Consumer Act of the
Philippines which states that it is the duty of the State to "protect the interests of the consumer,
promote his general welfare and to establish standards of conduct for business and industry."
She also sought an explanation from the National Telecommunications Commission as to why it
approved the additional charge for the paperless billing scheme. The NTC's mandate is to regulate and
supervise the provision of the public telecommunications services under Republic Act 7925 or the Public
Telecommunications Act of the Philippines.
"Kung mayroong mahigit 4 milyong postpaid subscribers ang isang telco at kalahati nito ay nais
pa rin ang tradisyunal na paper billing, aabot sa P100 milyon buwan-buwan ang dagdag kita ng mga
kumpanyang ito," Binay said.
"Bakit pinayagan ng NTC ang ganitong sistema? At bakit kailangang pasanin ito ng mga
subscriber?" she asked.