Mong Palatino

blogging about the philippine left and southeast asian politics since 2004


@mongster is a manila-based activist, former philippine legislator, and blogger/analyst of asia-pacific affairs.

Published by Bayan Metro Manila

We are asking utility companies to waive the collection of bills from customers whose lives have been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The enhanced community quarantine has prevented many from going out to work and earn a living. The hardest hit are those who belong to the informal sector. Minimum wage workers either lost their jobs or forced to work with reduced hours and income opportunities. Small and micro businesses have been gravely affected as well.

We welcome the announcement of some utility companies to extend the deadline for the payment of bills. But it does little to ease the financial woes of consumers since they still have to pay despite losing their jobs and means of earning a living.

Instead of merely postponing the due date for bills, we ask utility companies not to charge their customers for the month of March.
Instead of granting a mere grace period for the settlement of bills, we ask that the collection be waived altogether.

We are living in a state of calamity whose end is uncertain. We are under a public health emergency which has forced millions to stay at home, use their meager savings to survive, and avail of the government’s limited assistance.

A zero bill from telcos, power, and water firms will greatly reduce the financial burden of consumers. They can use the money to rebuild their livelihoods, find new work, and attend to the health and welfare of their families.
Cancelling the bill will not lead to waste and errant lifestyle since the ‘free service’ has been consumed already.

The COVID-19 outbreak was an unexpected crisis that demanded sacrifice from everybody. We were told to stay at home and comply with other restrictions as part of our civic duty to protect the health and safety of the community. We ask utility companies to do their share by adjusting their profit targets for the year. Waive the collection of bills as their corporate social responsibility pledge. An act of ‘human compassion’ during a difficult time in our lives.

We ask the government to fulfill its promise of lending support to the public by offering incentives to utility companies which will heed our appeal for the non-collection of bills.
We can’t beat COVID-19 together if many are left behind in communities under lockdown struggling to eke a living to pay debts, bills, and other living expenses.

Our appeal to utility companies: Let’s heal together by fighting as one. Lend a helping hand to consumers by charging zero this month.

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