Senate panel to probe cases of 'nakaw load'

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 4) — Have you ever experienced loading your mobile phone with prepaid credits, only to find out you inexplicably have zero balance a few hours later?

It turns out, these cases of "nakaw (stolen) load" are so prevalent that Senator Bam Aquino, chair of the Committee on Science and Technology, had to file Senate Resolution No. 595, directing the panel to probe the issue.

"Huwag natin hayaang manakawan ng pera ang ating mga kababayan (Let's not allow our citizens be robbed of their money). We cannot ignore these consumer reports of the disappearance of prepaid mobile credits, including mischarges, hidden charges and errors in opt out mechanisms," Aquino said in a statement.

The probe, to be conducted on Monday, will look into the implementation of regulations protecting prepaid mobile subscribers by the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and other  agencies.

Republic Act No. 10844, or the DICT Act of 2015, mandates the DICT to "provide oversight over agencies governing and regulating the ICT sector and ensure consumer protection and welfare."

Aquino added the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) must coordinate with each other to address consumer complaints.

Expected to attend the hearing are representatives from the DICT, DTI, telecommunications companies, consumer groups, and information technology advocacy groups.

In January, both Globe and Smart vowed to comply with the government's order to extend the expiration period of phone prepaid credits to one year.

READ: Globe, Smart comply with prepaid credit expiry extension

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