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Senate asked to study possibility of sending donations via text

/ 07:29 PM October 26, 2013

Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano has asked two Senate committees to look into the viability of using the country’s text-messaging system for people to send cash donations to ease the plight of calamity stricken communities.

Cayetano has filed Resolution No. 319 calling on the Senate committees on national defense and security and on public services to conduct the inquiry with an eye to setting up a national donation transfer system for cellphone users.

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“In a country where mobile phones outnumber the population, every texter is a potential bayani (hero). It would empower every Filipino whose heart goes out to the calamity victims to actually make a difference even with their P1,” Cayetano said in a press release.

Cayetano said that with 100 million text messages—a small portion of the SMS traffic sent out by Filipinos daily—-some P100 million could be  raised through a “text-to-donate” system.

“I believe that such a mechanism will allow every Filipino with a cellphone in hand to directly contribute and be a bayani  to those affected by disasters and calamities. Imagine how much we can raise for those who need help by simply sending a text message,” Cayetano said. “This new sense of empowerment will also stir up the bayanihan spirit in all of us. I know most of us want to help. All we need is an easier way to do so.”

Cayetano said the Senate committees could also determine if legislation is needed to effect such a proposal.

“There is also a need to ensure that this system of making micro-donations continues to be convenient, reliable, and available at all times to all willing donors, whether based here or abroad, regardless of the size of operations and/or donations, without causing undue burden to the service providers,” Cayetano said in his draft resolution.

In just one month, three natural and man-made disasters have affected a significant number of Filipinos all over the country, Cayetano said, referring to the Zamboanga City siege, the destruction caused by Typhoon Santi in Central Luzon and devastation wrought by the earthquake in  Bohol and Cebu.

“We should enable those who offered prayers for the calamity victims to reinforce their compassion with action,” Cayetano said.

Cayetano said he has already written the National Telecommunications Commission to call on the agency to start discussions with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and mobile service money providers on how a text-based donations system could be established as soon as possible.

“The NTC and the BSP as regulators of mobile money service providers are in the best position to ensure that the system of sending micro-donations via text messages is institutionalized and that the necessary framework, regulations and incentives to promote the use of mobile money for charitable purposes are put in place,” Cayetano said.

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