Household consumers of the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco), together with the Power for People Coalition (P4P), Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ), the Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC), and Sanlakas have called on House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and House Committee on Energy chairman Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco to take action as the no-disconnection deadline for bill shock loomed closer.
Meralco has set Oct. 31 as the last day of its grace period and will commence the disconnection of households unable to pay their massive bills incurred during the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) period.
“We have heard Cayetano and Velasco talk about so many things in their jockeying for the Speakership, even their birthdays, but we have yet to hear from them talk about what they will do for the thousands of households unable to pay their massive Meralco bills from the bill shock period. Despite the hearings, consumers are still waiting for concrete action from Congress. There is a looming crisis of much of Metro Manila going dark when classes are online and when most people are forced to work from their homes. We ask Congress, as our elected representatives, to make this their priority,” said Gerry Arances, P4P convenor.
The call was made during a press conference where the groups presented their call for a moratorium on bills incurred during the ECQ period and their online petition called “#TigilBayad” which they will present to Congress and the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC).
“Walang mawawala sa Meralco kung magbibigay sila ng palugit. Pero kami, pag nawalan ng kuryente, hindi na makakapag-aral, mahihirapang maghanap buhay, at lalong hindi makakabayad. Hiling lang naming, tamang singil at sapat na panahon para bayaran ito,” said Nimfa Cachila of the Bayabas Village Neighborhood Association in Nangka, Marikina City.
Meralco bills during the ECQ earned the ire of almost all stakeholders, prompting a hearing in the House of Representatives on the matter, alongside hearings in the Senate.