Senate opens inquiry into prepaid 'disappearing load' cases

The Senate committee on trade and commerce will open its inquiry into the case of the "disappearing e-load" controversy that allegedly victimized millions of Filipinos, including Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, who owns pre-paid account mobile phone services.

Liberal President Senator Mar Roxas, chairman of the Senate Committee on Trade and Commerce tasked to investigate the case, has invited representatives from Globe Telecoms, Smart Communications Inc. and Digitel Mobile Philippines Inc. (Sun Cellular) to attend the hearing scheduled at 10 a.m. Tuesday.

Also invited to the hearing were Transportation Secretary Leandro Mendoza, Trade Secretary Peter Favila, Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez and National Telecommunications Commission Chair Ruel Canobas to shed light on how government regulates the mobile phone industry.
"Susuriin nating mabuti kung paanong pinangangalagaan ng pamahalaan ang interes ng mga mobile phone users," Roxas said.

"Kailangan din nating silipin kung sumusunod nga sa patakaran ng pamahalaan itong mga telcos na ito at kung totoo ang mga reklamo na inaabuso nila ang milyon-milyong subscribers ng mga pre-paid plans," he added.
Senate President Enrile delivered a privilege speech two weeks ago rebuking mobile phone companies because the pre-paid call credits loaded into his mobile phone "disappeared," a case which he said afflicts millions of other Filipinos.

As of December 2007, records show an estimated 57 million subscribers of the three giant telecommunication companies, which have registered total gross revenues of P149.5 billion in 2007. Industry players say the current volume of text messages per day reaches 2 billion or 16,200 text messages per second.

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