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No GCs with expiry dates this Christmas, please

  • Written by Mario Fetalino Jr.
  • Published in Opinion
  • Read: 191

CHRISTMAS is near and it’s going to be the time for gift-giving. 

And talking about gifts, they will be in many forms. But are you taking gift checks with expiry dates?

If not, you might change your mind sooner or later because a bill has been filed before the House of Representatives to ban gift checks that expire.  
   
In House Bill 3091, it is said that a gift certificate, check or card, is for all intent and purposes, good as cash. It is purchased with money.
   
And money having no expiry dates, it follows that GCs must bear no expiry date at all. It makes no business sense for suppliers of gift checks to place an expiry date over what amounts to cash.
   
If the reason is the risk of such certificates being issued as susceptible to tampering, it is well within their responsibility to make sure this will not happen through modern security methods.
 
Millions of pesos worth of gift checks are expected to be printed and issued to recipients this Christmas season. Many are unmindful of expiry dates and get shortchanged when such gets in the way to redeem the gift certificates.
   
Gift certificates are bought with money so it must also be redeemable until used by the holder or the owner.
   
Money does not expire unless it is already demonetized which rarely happens. So the same must apply to a gift certificate.
   
The bill, otherwise known as the New Gift Check Act of 2016, mandates the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to issue rules, regulations, and promulgations to carry out the provisions of the act.
   
I’m not rushing the lower chamber to approve this bill but truly, a lot of people including this corner would have a merrier Christmas if we are given GCs without expiry dates.
   
Meanwhile, another bill at the House got my attention because it deals with something that affects so many Filipinos.
   
If you’re getting unwanted messages in your mobile phone or  you feel annoyed when a message wakes you up at night only to find out that it’s selling a product, then this bill might be very important to you.
   
The bill entitled the ‘Mobile Phone User’s Freedom Act’,  points out the unabated commercial offerings, promotions, advertisements and surveys in mobile phones in the form of spam messages that are not wanted by phone users.
   
These vicious and unregulated bombardments of such messages get in the way of the free, open, clean and supposedly unobtrusive personal and private use of mobile phones in ways that please, satisfy and supply the needs of subscribers and the costs they paid for in their chosen post-paid or pre-paid plans.
 
And since these menacing messages, whether they are from known or unknown sources, were not asked by subscribers, they should be regulated by the government through the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC).
   
The proposal seeks to broaden the regulatory powers of the NTC to effectively ban the unwanted messages and make the telecommunication companies or service providers involved liable for any violation of the suggested measure.
   
It also sets a hefty fine of P200,000 or a revocation of franchise  for violators.
   
The proposed law says, “It is never incumbent upon any nefarious source to stand in the way of this freedom of communication when, without consent or at least the consent of the receiver, any mobile phone owner or subscriber, just receives any text or any messages from known or unknown source unless with due permission or upon the demand of the receiver from the sender of such spam.
   
Millions of phone users fall victim to these unwanted messages that cause adverse effects on the quality of life and personal freedom.
   
Nice to know a lawmaker named Winston ‘Winnie’ Castelo is addressing these issues.

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