By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
Senator Grace Poe said Monday that companies in the private sector and government financial institutions should replicate the example of public utilities in granting payment holidays to their customers while Metro Manila is under community quarantine.
The chair of the Senate Public Services Committee lauded the move of some corporations to extend payment deadlines for its customers in compliance with government measures to contain the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the country.
“The assurance of Globe, Smart PLDT, Skycable, and GSIS (Government Service Insurance System) of their continued service despite the moratorium shows their commitment to public service,” Poe said.
Telecommunication companies Globe Telecom Inc. and Smart Communications Inc. earlier announced that they would be giving their postpaid customers a 30-day payment extension for both mobile and postpaid services, as well as other bills payment, in line with the month-long quarantine being implemented in Metro Manila. Sky Cable also issued a similar announcement.
The GSIS, meanwhile, said it will extend the GSIS Financial Assistance Loan (GFAL) for members who have existing loans with lending institutions until the end of September so that they can apply at a later date.
The program was originally scheduled to end in July this year.
Poe reiterated her appeal for a moratorium by corporations, banks, and private and government financial institutions on the imposition of penalties or similar charges on delayed payment of bills, utilities, and other obligations.
“It is my hope that others will implement a modified payment scheme during this period,” she proposed.
Metro Manila has been placed under community quarantine, effective Sunday, March 15, until April 14, to counter the spread of COVID-19.
As of Sunday, there have been 140 confirmed cases of the disease in the country, with 12 deaths, according to the Department of Health.