Philippines’ TXTPower turns 7

TXTPower was born on Aug. 27, 2001, a few months after the People Power 2 revolt of mobile phone-wielding Filipinos. Six years into the future, TXTPower is now known as an advocate of consumer rights, civil liberties and the creative use of mobile phones for social change.

The group’s convenors in 2001 never expected TXTPower to last longer than the campaign to protest the “free text reduction” implemented by telcos Smart and Globe.

Soon after the campaign that delayed the implementation of the “free text reduction” through court cases and high-profile protests, we continued and raised the level of TXTPower advocacy: We stood up against repeated attempts to impose a “text tax” — culminating in the frontpage banner story that rocked Congress and compelled the Speaker to promise to the nation that no “text tax” will be enacted.

SIM card registration — purportedly to address crime and terror — is likewise another Frankenstein that refuses to die. But TXTPower is relentless in opposing it to preserve the right to privacy of the public.

We fought for better deals and better prices for consumers, pushing bulk pricing and resulting in the de facto regime of unlimited price offers. We look forward to the time that these promos are turned into permanent offers.

In 2005, TXTPower popularized the Hello Garci ringtone — helping the public demand accountability from the President Arroyo who called a elections commissioner to rig the 2004 election results. More than a million downloaded the ringtones and made it arguably the world’s most popular political ringtone.

The Arroyo administration has chosen to use frustrate moves to hold it accountable for many crimes, apart from electoral fraud, and has presided over surveillance, harassment, forcible disappearance and extrajudicial slays of critics. The worst is yet to come with the full implementation this year of the so-called Human Security Act or the terror law.

Six years after it was founded, TXTPower rededicates itself to the Filipino mobile phone subscriber and to the issues of democratic access, civil liberties and change in the Philippines.

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