Consumer protest using SMS petition

Around August of 2004, the consumer group TXTPower led some 28 million Filipinos in the first cyberprotest in the Philippines against a new Bill that would have increased the cost of text messaging. TXTPower encouraged the consumers to sign the petition against the proposal by sending a text message to a central number. A text barrage was launched in parallel with the petition signing via SMS, aimed at the main proponents of the new taxes.

The protest was launched to oppose the Philippine Congress’ recommendation to impose a “text tax.” The government had also proposed a Value Added Tax (VAT) hike from 10-12 percent to 20 percent. The campaign against the text taxes even went outside the country: migrant workers joined the campaign as they rely on text messages as the cheapest and most accessible form of communication with their families.

Through the collective efforts of the consumers, Congress stopped the formal filing of the “text tax” proposal.