PHILIPPINES: Cyber protest over SMS tax

A consumer group is leading the first cyber protest in the Philippines to denounce government plans to tax mobile phone text messaging, or SMS, which has become more common than making a telephone call

The Straits Times
Tuesday, August 10, 2004

MANILA - A consumer group is leading the first cyber protest in the Philippines to denounce government plans to tax mobile phone text messaging, or SMS, which has become more common than making a telephone call.

The group has posted an Internet petition asking supporters to add their names to the document asking Congress to scrap the tax measure aimed at generating revenues to help plug a budget deficit.

Mobile phone users can sign up to join the protest by sending an SMS to a dedicated cellular phone number which will collect all messages. The petition will be passed to Congress.

The campaign is headed by a group of professionals and students under a venture called 'TxtPower' who claim to represent a major portion of the country's millions of mobile phone owners.

The Philippines has an estimated 28 million mobile phone subscribers.

With 120 million to 150 million messages crossing mobile phone networks daily, the Philippines has been tagged as the 'text capital' of the world.