Aboitiz group offers COVID19 ‘lifeline’
Four electricity distribution firms run by the Aboitiz group, including those outside locked-down Luzon, have offered a 30-day grace period for electricity bills payments to help consumers cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Aboitiz group’s banking and property units have likewise offered a 30-day extension of payments while one-month rental fees were waived for the group’s shopping malls in Luzon and Visayas as part of a COVID-19 “lifeline” package extended to customers.
AboitizPower distribution units Visayan Electric Co. Inc. (VECO), Davao Light & Power Co., Cotabato Light & Power Co., and Subic EnerZone announced a 30-day payment extension for bills due on March 15 to April 14, 2020.
Scheduled power interruptions will also be limited to customer requests and vital line maintenance, the group assured.
“We in Aboitiz fully recognize the impact of the current situation on our clients and customers ー and we are doing our best to help them cope until things return to normal. We are with you as we beat the odds together during this challenging time,” Aboitiz Group president and chief executive officer Sabin Aboitiz said in a press statement on Sunday.
To ensure the adequate and reliable supply and distribution of electricity, business continuity plans have been activated across AboitizPower’s power generation facilities and distribution utilities, all of which are fully operational. Its generation facilities also continue to operate and provide enough power to the grid.
The country’s largest power utility, Manila Electric Co. which is part of the Metro Pacific group led by businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan, earlier extended the deadline for payment of electricity bills due from March 1 to April 14.
Visayan Electric Company Inc. (VECO) is the second largest electric utility in the Philippines serving the cities of Cebu, Mandaue, Talisay, Naga and four municipalities of the greater part of Metro Cebu – Liloan, Consolacion, Minglanilla and San Fernando. Its franchise service covers an area of about 674 square kilometers with an estimated population of 1.73 million.
Davao Light is the country’s third largest privately-owned electric distribution utility, with franchise area covering Davao City, areas of Panabo City, and the municipalities of Carmen, Dujali, and Santo Tomas in Davao del Norte, with a population of around 1.8 million and a total area of 3,561 square kilometers.
Cotabato Light’s service area covers Cotabato City and parts of Datu Odin Sinsuat and Sultan Kudarat municipalities under Maguindanao Province while Subic EnerZone is responsible for operating the Subic Bay Freeport Zone power distribution system.
Meanwhile, Union Bank of the Philippines offered a 30-day extension with no late fees for credit cards, housing loans, auto loans, and quick loans to qualified customers and waived online Instapay transfer fees until April 14, 2020. The bank is also encouraging its customers to “go digital” and “bank from home.” A similar grace period was offered by UnionBank’s subsidiary, City Savings Bank, for motorcycle loan borrowers in good standing.
AboitizLand waived one-month rent to all the tenants of its malls in Luzon and Visayas and extended payment deadlines for bills issued during the previous month. For its residential business, it also provided equity payment extensions for accounts with due dates from March 16 to April 15, 2020 and waived penalties and fees associated with transactions for this period.
The microstudio rental apartments operated by AboitizLand with Point Blue also reduced the required three-month minimum lease term for all units to one-month lease. This is to offer safer alternative housing for people who suffer long work commutes, and help businesses such as business process outsourcing companies to continue their operations.
The group’s food manufacturing arm, Pilmico Foods Corp., also ensured continued operation and unhampered production in its flour, feeds, and farm facilities to contribute to food supply stability in areas affected by the quarantine. Digital platforms are harnessed to continue serving its partners and customers through online consultations for baking, livestock raising, nutrition, and others.
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