Pasay councilor files proposed ordinance seeking to penalize telcos for excessive fees

March 20, 2014 10:42 am 

MANILA, March 19 — A Pasay City councilor has filed a proposed ordinance that will sanction telephone companies and other public utility providers who continue to charge for interrupted services.

The draft measure, entitled “An ordinance to prohibit the continuous charging of fees and charges on subscribers of telephone landlines, internet, and cable TV while their respective services are interrupted, and prescribing penalties for violations thereof,” was filed by Councilor Allan Panaligan.

According to Panaligan, the proposed ordinance, which is designed to protect “hapless” subscribers who are paying charges even for “interrupted services” from telephone, internet and cable TV service providers, will impose appropriate penalties against public utility companies involved in any such abuse.

Panaligan expressed optimism that once passed, the ordinance will protect Pasay residents from any unreasonable fees being charged by utility companies.

“Through this measure, we hope to hold public utility providers accountable by imposing appropriate penalties,” he stressed.

Panaligan defines “interruption of service” as a break in the continuity of service for a period of four hours or more.

The councilor noted that “the hapless subscribers are without plain and immediate recourse against these corporate giants” that provide either landline telephone, internet access and cable television.

“To stem the tide of these damaging business practices of these giant service providers, there is necessity to enact an ordinance that will check and regulate these unethical practices to protect the interests of their respective customers,” the proposed ordinance read.

Under the ordinance, the utility providers shall perform the necessary adjustments or rebates during the interruption of the service to their respective subscribers.

Likewise the subscribers must report immediately to the telephone, internet and cable TV companies during the time of the occurrence of the interruption of such utility service.

Any violator will face the following penalties:

First Offense: Notice of Reprimand.

Second Offense: Suspension of the Business Permit for 6 months.

Third Offense: Closure of the aforementioned Business Establishment; fine of P5,000 and imprisonment of one year or at the discretion of the court.

Pasay City spokesman Jonathan Malaya said that the proposed ordinance will be scheduled for public hearings by the City Council to determine the opinion or sentiments of all stakeholders.

Malaya expressed confidence that the appropriate committee of the City Council will invite consumers groups and the utility companies to the public hearings. (PNA)

/CLTC/UTB

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