Senator Christopher “Bong” Go on Sunday appealed to the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) and other electric distribution companies to consider extending its no-disconnection policy to underprivileged consumers.
Go said Meralco should show more compassion to small consumers who have failed to completely settle their electric bills after having been allowed to defer payment last year at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Muli po akong nananawagan sa Meralco na kung maaari ay ‘wag muna nilang putulan ng kuryente ang mga kababayan nating hindi pa makapagbabayad, lalo ‘yung wala talagang mapagkunan ng pambayad, (I’m calling on Meralco to at least exempt from the policy our fellowmen who were unable to pay especially those who have no means to pay),” Go pleaded in a statement.
“Huwag natin pahirapan ang karaniwang tao na wala talagang pambayad dahil walang kabuhayan ngayon. Wala na nga makain, mawawalan pa ng kuryente. Konting puso naman sa panahon kung kailan naghihirap ang ating mga kababayan, (Let’s not subject ordinary people to more hardships because there’s currently lack of jobs. They are struggling to make ends meet. Let’s show some compassion during this time when most of our fellowmen are having a hard time),” the senator said.
The Senate Committee on Health and Demography chief also said the government should find ways to look into the matter and find ways to avoid putting any additional burden to those who are already having financial difficulty during the pandemic.
He also said the private sector should help alleviate the government in alleviating the woes of ordinary citizens as part of their contribution at efforts to overcome the COVID crisis.
Meanwhile, Go continues to ask the private sector to help alleviate the woes of ordinary citizens as part of their contribution to the bayanihan efforts in overcoming the crisis.
“Magtulungan po tayo. Habang ginagawa ng gobyerno ang lahat upang makatulong, hinihikayat ko rin ang pribadong sektor na patuloy na makipagtulungan. Sama sama nating iahon ang ating mga kababayan mula sa hirap na dulot ng pandemyang ito,” he said.
Meralco’s no-disconnection policy was supposed to end last December 31, 2020 but was extended to end of January 2021.
According to Meralco Vice-President and Head of Corporate Joe R. Zaldarriaga, households consuming 201 kilowatt-hours (kWh) or more were asked to settle their unpaid bills last month, while those consuming 200 kWh and below were allowed to pay until the end of January.
Meralco also said that only non-lifeliners who have not paid any amount since March last year would experience disconnection. The company will also allow payment on installment basis upon request.