THE Senate is set to look into the additional fee being imposed by telecommunication companies or telcos on subscribers who still want to receive their monthly bill in paper.
Senator Nancy Binay had filed Senate Resolution 521 asking the proper Senate committee to investigate the P50 additional fee being charged by Globe Telecommunications Incorporated and Philippine Long Distance (PLDT) Incorporated to their postpaid subscribers who had refused to avail of their paperless billing.
Globe transitioned from its traditional paper billing to paperless or digital billing in September 2016 while PLDT started charging its new subscribers who had refused to go paperless an additional P50 as of July 8, 2017.
Globe, in justifying its paperless billing, cited environmental issues as among the reasons why the company wants to get rid of printed billling.
PLTD imposed the additional P50 on voice and data subscribers who would still want to receive printed bills via courier.
Voice-only subscribers will receive a printed copy of their monthly bills and are exempted from the P50 charge, according to an announcement of the PLDT posted on its website.
Binay said telecommunication companies should instead provide incentives to postpaid subscribers who would agree to enroll in their paperless billing program instead of punishing those who refuse to avail of it.
“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?” the senator asked.
Binay wants the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to explain why it allowed Globe and PLDT to impose the additional fee on their subscribers.
The senator noted that under Republic Act (RA) 7394 or the Consumer Act of the Philippines, 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.”
It is the NTC’s mandate, Binay said, to regulate and supervise provision of public telecommunications services under RA 7925.
She added if Globe and PLDT each have more than four million subscribers and if half of them refused to avail of the new billing scheme, they could earn an additional P100 million per month