AboitizPower has directly remitted a total of Php40.6 million to local government units in Cebu as of end-September, boosting their response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as for development.
Through the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Energy Regulations 1-94 (ER 1-94) program, AboitizPower and its partners have directly downloaded a total of P15.8 million to Cebu Province, Cebu City, Lapu-Lapu City, and Toledo City as well as host barangays within these localities.
Another P24.8 million from Cebu-based AboitizPower-led generation companies, accumulated as of 2019, has also been remitted by the DOE to the beneficiaries.
While the ER 1-94 funds are primarily meant for the electrification of areas or households, development and livelihood programs, reforestation, watershed management, health, and environmental enhancement initiatives, a recent circular now allows the use of these shares to help mitigate the effects of the coronavirus.
Brgy. Bato in Toledo City, the host beneficiary of Therma Visayas, Inc. (TVI), has almost used up its P4.24 million shares after distributing relief goods to 3,200 families and 2,400 households.
“This really goes a long way for a barangay, especially now with COVID-19. We already finished our first and second tranches of relief distribution and because of the ER 1-94 remittances, we will be able to extend up to a fourth tranche,” Brgy. Capt. Rosalio “Otam” Cereno said.
The Toledo City government, whose financial benefits amount to P5.39 million, is planning to use all of its shares in the fight against COVID-19. Part of the plan is to buy disinfecting equipment, personal protective gear, testing kits, agri-fishery inputs, relief goods, and to pay for the housing of frontline workers, among others.
“The city is very grateful for the assistance from Therma Visayas and AboitizPower, especially with the ER 1-94 funds given to the City of Toledo. TVI is the first to extend their assistance to the city and rest assured that we will be transparent with all the funds that they have given to the city and those that we planned to do with the assistance,” Toledo City Mayor Marjorie “Joie” Perales said.
Lapu-Lapu City, on the other hand, has already used over P750,000 of its shares to buy disinfectant for local isolation facilities. Meanwhile, Brgy. Ibo, the host community of East Asia Utilities Corp. (EAUC), also plans to use a portion of the benefits to purchase anti-flu vaccines for its residents.
“The transfer of the ER 1-94 funds was timely as it allowed the city to purchase alcohol and disinfectants, which were some of the items that the city did not have any existing budget allocation,” Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Junard “Ahong” Chan said.
The ER 1-94 Program is a policy under the DOE Act of 1992 and the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001 (EPIRA), which stipulates that host communities will get a share of one centavo for every kilowatt-hour (P0.01/kWh) generated by power plants operating in its area.
With the new circular covering ER 1-94 funds, host LGUs can now use these shares to help manage the effects of the new virus, in accordance with the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, which includes the facilitation of mass testing by providing and constructing facilities, as well as acquiring proper medical testing kits.