Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Davao City's Support For Senator Gordon’s Text Tax Bill On

Davao City councilor Pilar Braga is supporting Senate Bill 2402 mandating telecommunication companies to remit fifty percent of their text revenues to the government for the development of the country’s education system and health programs.

The bill, which was introduced by Senator Richard Gordon, provides for the creation and funding of HEAP or the Health Education Acceleration Program which seeks to rehabilitate the country’s education and health programs.

The Philippines is known as the texting capital of the world with an estimated 65% of its population having access to a cellphone capable of sending SMS or text messages. With an estimated 400 million text messages sent per day at P1 per message, Braga said, roughly P200 million a day can be contributed to HEAP, a substantial amount that can address the backlogs in the country’s health and education infrastructures.

Braga said the country is faced with a deteriorating educational system with 267 barangays suffering from lack of public elementary schools and four municipalities without public high schools. Majority of the Filipino school children are also undernourished as per World Bank data.

The telecommunication companies are earning multi-billions of pesos a year from text messaging alone with combined earnings of P77 billion in 2007. If half of this can be used to finance the country’s education and health programs then it can go a long way in improving the country’s literacy rate and health programs.

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