A SENIOR PARTY-LIST legislator asked power-industry regulators to implement an installment-payment policy on power bills until Jan. 31, instead of allowing power companies to disconnect customers who have fallen behind on their payments.
Representative Alfredo Garbin, Jr. of AKO BICOL, who co-chairs the House committee on justice, asked both the Energy Regulatory Commission and the National Electrification Administration to extend the no-disconnection policy, and also made a similar appeal to the government body managing the pandemic.
“I implore the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) to make no-disconnections its unequivocal policy so that no MSMEs (micro-, small-, and medium-sized enterprises) or retail consumers will have to needlessly suffer,” Mr. Garbin said over the weekend, noting that disconnections will affect countryside residents’ ability to engage in online learning or make contactless payments.
“We need more solar and wind power and mini-hydro power generation in the provinces. We need alternatives to coal, gas, and diesel-fueled power plants,” he added.
Separately, Albay Rep. Jose Maria Clemente S. Salceda said the new House leadership is working on measures that would lower energy costs.
“Most interested Japanese (investors) are in manufacturing, so if we can get energy costs down, we can amplify our other strengths, to attract them here and create well-paid jobs for Filipinos,” he said.
Mr. Salceda also urged Congress to pass the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises bill and investment liberalization measures such as the Public Service Act, Foreign Investments Act, and Retail Trade Liberalization Act.
“The House has already approved them. All are pending in the Senate,” he said. “Unless we get all four items passed on time, we will remain among the most investment restrictive economies in the world.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development has ranked the Philippines as the most FDI-restrictive nation in ASEAN. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza