20 December 2017, DTI International Building, Makati City

The national government is committed in ensuring all Filipinos enjoy the benefits of sound telecommunications services in the country, while also protecting their consumer rights.

As such, the departments of Trade and Industry (DTI) and Information and Communications Technology (DICT), together with the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), are signing a Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) to support these efforts.

With this JMC, the government is amending NTC’s Memorandum Circular No. 03-07-2009, or the Guidelines on Prepaid Loads that cover all prepaid loads of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) providers and public telecommunications entities.

Specifically, prepaid loads of whatever amount will now have an expiration date that will last up to one year from the date of the top-up. This, in turn, will afford subscribers more time to use their prepaid loads.

  1. The only exclusion to the coverage of this JMC will be those prepaid loads purchased for promotions and other services with a specific period of use, as approved by DTI and NTC.

With this circular, the three government agencies can better protect the rights of Filipinos as consumers given that as of end December 2016, there are around 130 million cellphone subscribers.

  • This is higher than it was in 2009 when the number of subscribers was 75.57 million and the carrying cost per subscriber was Php3.00 per day.
  • Taking into consideration that more than 90% of the costs of the networks are fixed, the carrying cost per subscriber has decreased as the number of subscribers has increased since then.

To reiterate, the 1987 Constitution recognizes the vital role of communication and information in nation-building. As part of a whole-of-government approach, different agencies have their roles to play to fulfill this goal.

  • NTC promotes consumer welfare by facilitating access to telecommunications services via a sound infrastructure and network,
  • Meanwhile, DICT pushes the development and use of ICT through policies, plans, programs, and guidelines.

DTI’s mandate—under Republic Act No. 7394, or the Consumer Act of the Philippines—is to protect consumers against deceptive, unfair and unconscionable sales acts or practices, and from misleading advertisements and fraudulent sales promotions.

Furthermore, while DTI is committed in promoting the rights of consumers and the needs of the individual subscribers, we also want to address the needs of business subscribers using these services.

  • DTI is confident that our Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) will be able to do business more easily thanks to this circular, whether by making calls or sending an SMS to their customers, or by accessing the internet to conduct e-commerce.
  • Through greater opportunities accessible via telecommunications, our MSMEs will be able to help us generate inclusive development and shared prosperity for all Filipinos, especially for those at the bottom of the pyramid.

Lastly, with this circular, President Rodrigo Duterte hopes to give the public a gift this holiday season that everyone can truly benefit from in the coming years.♦