Soco asks utilities to give incentives, adopt deferred payment schemes
CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Cebu Provincial Board has asked the utility providers to extend payment grace periods or develop favorable payment schemes for their consumers amid economic difficulties brought by the coronavirus pandemic and the ongoing enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).
With the ongoing ECQ, several establishments have been ordered closed resulting to temporary layoffs or reduced salaries among its workers.
The ECQ also forced some businesses to operate in reduced manpower thus, less productivity.
“Despite the economic, social and financial crisis each and everyone is experiencing, households continue to use up basic utilities, like electricity, water and liquified petroleum gas. Households are still expected to spend on these since basic utilities which are necessary in each and every home and are essential in one’s daily human activities,” Board Member Glenn Anthony Soco of Cebu’s Sixth District said in a resolution.
Soco, who chairs the Committe on Commerce, Trade and Industry, filed two resolutions for the Provincial Board’s Session on Monday, April 27, 2020, urging the utility providers to extend discounts, incentives and adopt or allow deferred payment schemes to help out their consumers amid the crisis.
Adopting deferred payment schemes, Soco argues, would allow the consumers some breathing time so they will still have time to look for new sources of income after the ECQ if they have permanently lost their old jobs during the pandemic.
“The current predicament caused by the public health emergency continues to cripple everyone especially the income earners who may have to endure reduced salaries, or worse, have lost their jobs to this worldwide challenge that does not only affect health and lives, but likewise the economy,”the resolution reads.
Soco also called on the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) to explore and implement measures that may help cut down water rates.
Before the ECQ in Cebu province started, the Visayan Electric Company (Visayan Electric), which services most areas of Metro Cebu, has already announced a 30-day extension for the payment of electricity bills that are supposed to be due on March 15 to April 14.
The Metro Cebu Water District (MCWD) has also announced a total of 90-day extension for payment of water bills as an economic relief amid the COVID-19 and the ECQ. /bmjo
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