Senator Chiz Escudero said the government should just focus on improving the services being provided by telecommunications companies instead of entertaining a proposal to impose taxes on text messages.
“If there’s anything that the government needs to do, it is to help improve the services provided by telcos. This includes mandating per-second charges instead of per-minute and fixing the problem of billings for dropped calls,” Escudero said.
The senator had earlier slammed International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde for proposing a tax on text messages as a revenue-generating measure for the government.
“If she wants to help, then just give advice to her countrymen in Europe. They have bigger problems there. Huwag na s’yang makialam dito sa atin,” Escudero said.
The senator stressed that mobile phone users and subscribers need a respite from sometimes spotty services being provided by telcos rather than being burdened by additional taxes on text messages.
“Text messages are now a necessity for most Filipinos, much like electricity. Texts are used for everyday chores, be it for commerce or for personal matters,” Escudero explained.
The senator said he has been pushing for improved telco services since he was still a congressman, and vowed to continue his fight for better consumer services.
“We have been pushing for better services even when I was still a member of the House of Representatives. We passed a resolution calling on the National Telecommunication Commission (NTC) to fix the problems,” he said.
“Ang problema, tila mas hawak pa sila ng telco kaysa sila ang may hawak sa telco. I hope the NTC realizes just how much of a burden consumers are bearing with poor telco services. It should do its job, mag-flex naman ng konting muscles ang NTC at ipakita sa mga telco na ‘Kami ang amo, ang boss, hindi kayo,’” Escudero added.
The senator said even the disparity in the pricing of so-called cellphone loads between pre-paid and post-paid lines remains a headache for consumers.
“The NTC needs to order the telcos to immediately fix the problem of the ‘missing loads.’ Dapat maayos ang pag-presyo ng mga telco dahil yung pre-paid mas matas yung per-minute na singil nila kaysa post-paid,” Escudero said.
“A lot of things need to be fixed. Instead of considering a tax on text messages, the government should first look into these problems. Maawa naman sila sa atin,” he added.