MANILA, Philippines — A lawmaker on Friday called on telecommunication companies to give free load and internet access to their subscribers amid the enhanced community quarantine imposed in the Luzon region.
House Deputy Minority Leader and Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate said that this is essential since messaging is the only way the public could check on their loved ones during the quarantine.
Relevant and critical information on the pandemic as well as important government responses to the COVID-19 epidemic are also available online, he noted.
“Tayo ay nananawagan sa ating mga telecommunication companies na i-exercise naman po ninyo ang inyong corporate social responsibility na bigyan ng libre load ang aming mga mamamayan na nahihirapan na ngayon,” Zarate said in a video message.
(We are appealing to telecommunication companies to exercise their corporate social responsibility to give their subscribers free load since they are having a hard time right now.)
“Unang-una wala silang pera pambili ng load dahil wala naman silang mga trabaho, at kung meron man silang pambili ng load ay wala naman silang mabibilhan dahil wala na ring nagre-reload sa kanila,” he added.
(First of all, they do not have the money to buy load because they do not have jobs and if they have the money to buy load, shops where they can buy the load no longer operate.)
In a separate statement, Zarate said the free load aid is “a drop in the bucket if we take into account that the telcos still have a pending case to refund consumers of at least P7 billion since November 2011 for overcharging their text messaging.”
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier placed the entire Luzon under enhanced community quarantine as part of the government’s effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Under the enhanced community quarantine, “strict home quarantine shall be implemented in all households; transportation shall be suspended; provision for food and essential services shall be regulated; and heightened presence of uniformed personnel to enforce quarantine procedures will be implemented.”
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