Senator Christopher “Bong” Go is appealing to big businesses, particularly power distribution utilities, to consider the welfare of ordinary Filipinos, and balance public and business interests as the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic continues to affect a big number of families financially.
“President Rodrigo Duterte and I are making a plea that big companies extend the use of their resources,” Go said in an ambush interview after personally providing aid to typhoon victims in Rodriguez, Rizal last February 8, 2020.
“If possible, companies should adopt a ‘no profit’ position. Let us not think of profits during this pandemic. And let us think now on how we can reach the new normal, or how we can survive a crisis like this,” Go said, appealing to everyone,
His plea also came after Duterte issued a directive extending the “no disconnection” to ensure low-income households or lifeline consumers who are struggling to pay their bills on time can still have access to electricity.
Earlier, the Senator issued a call to the Manila Electric Company (Meralco) to study a possible extension of their “no disconnection” policy for underprivileged and lifeline consumers.
He also urged the government to explore other ways to alleviate the impact of the pandemic by avoiding any additional financial burden on families that are already struggling to make ends meet.
In an advisory released on February 6, 2020, the Department of Energy (DOE) directed all distribution utilities to implement a “no disconnection” policy for consumers with unsettled bills falling due on March 2021 and whose consumption levels are within the lifeline rate or below 100 kilowatt hours per month.
The DOE also encouraged all electricity consumers with pending bills to enter into a “socially equitable and manageable payment terms” with their distribution utilities.
Lifeline consumers presently comprise 32 percent of Meralco’s customer base and account for only 3 percent of the firm’s total electricity sales. The “no disconnection” policy is “doable, according to Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles. SOVEREIGNPH