A total of P40.6 million downloaded to the communities and local government units that host the energy generation facilities of Aboitiz Power Corporation (AboitizPower) has been used to finance the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) response.
AboitizPower said the funds were remitted to the LGUs under the Energy Regulation (ER) 1-94 program, which provides host communities with compensation of one centavo for every kilowatt-hour (kWh) of energy produced in their jurisdiction.
The company said it downloaded P15.8 million to Cebu Province, Cebu City, Lapu-Lapu City, Toledo City and the host barangays of their facilities.
The Department of Energy also remitted P24.8 million from AboitizPower-led generation companies based in Cebu, accumulated as of 2019, to the beneficiaries.
Barangay Bato in Toledo City used part of its share of P4.24 million to distribute relief goods to 3,200 families and 2,400 households.
Barangay Bato hosts the coal-fired power plant of Therma Visayas, Inc. (TVI), an AboitizPower subsidiary.
“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,” Bato barangay chairperson Rosalio Cereno said.
The Toledo City Government received P5.39 million, which will also be used for COVID-19 response.
"The City is very grateful for the assistance from Therma Visayas and AboitizPower, especially on 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 Perales said.
In Lapu-Lapu City, Barangay Ibo plans to purchase anti-flu vaccines using its share from the ER 1-94 funds. Ibo hosts the East Asia Utilities Corp. (EAUC) facility.
The Lapu-Lapu City Government, for its part, has spent its share of over P750,000 on disinfectant for the local isolation facilities.
“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 Chan said.
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 DOE circular issued in April 2020, however, allows the use of these funds to help mitigate the effects of the pandemic. (Ventures Cebu)