Press Release
March 4, 2018

Sen. Bam to probe consumer complaints on 'nakaw load'

In response to the numerous complaints about the disappearance of prepaid mobile loads or "nakaw load", Sen. Bam Aquino will conduct an investigation on Monday (March 5) to determine steps to address the problem and prevent it from happening in the future.

Sen. Bam filed Senate Resolution No. 595, directing the Committee on Science and Technology to determine the capacity and readiness of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), other relevant government agencies and regulators to implement rules that will protect prepaid mobile subscribers.

Expected to attend the hearing are representatives from consumer groups, IT advocacy groups, DICT, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) and telecommunication companies Smart, Globe and PLDT.

As the country's primary agency for communications technology, Sen. Bam said the DICT is mandated under Republic Act No. 10844 or the DICT Act of 2015 to provide oversight over agencies governing and regulating ICT sector and ensure consumer protection and welfare.

According to the NTC, around 97 percent, or around 126 million, of the country's 130 million mobile phone owners are prepaid subscribers.

"Huwag natin hayaang manakawan ng pera ang ating mga kababayan. We cannot ignore these consumer reports of the disappearance of prepaid mobile credits, including mischarges, hidden charges and errors in opt out mechanisms," said Sen. Bam, chairman of the Committee on Science and Technology.

With the Department of Trade and Industry and the NTC both mandated to protect consumers of prepaid mobile credits, Sen. Bam said it is important that these two agencies are well-coordinated and must sufficiently facilitate and address consumer complaints.

"Let's check and ensure that our government agencies and regulators are equipped with the systems, equipment and technical capacity to determine the compliance of telcos," said Sen. Bam.

In addition, concerned government agencies such as the DTI and NTC should have the capacity to respond to complaint related to the abrupt expiration or disappearance of prepaid mobile credits.

Sen. Bam is the current chairman of the Committee on Science and Technology. He is the principal sponsor and a co-author of Republic Act 10929 or the Free Internet in Public Places Act.

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