DOE to help host LGUs fight against COVID-19

Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon (The Freeman) - April 8, 2020 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — The Department of Energy has issued a circular providing rules and guidelines in the utilization of funds to help the communities hosting energy facilities and energy resource developers in the fight against coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi issued the guidelines to ensure effective administration, management, and implementation of Energy Regulations 1-94 (ER 1-94) Program.

"For our country to effectively and efficiently 'flatten the curve', we must ensure that all our local government units have the resources that would aid in containing, mitigating, and eventually eliminating the spread of COVID-19 in their respective jurisdictions," said Cusi in a statement. 

Cusi said that releasing available ER 1-94 funds to host communities would definitely give additional boost to their ongoing efforts to combat the dreaded disease.

Under the ER 1-94 program, host communities to energy generation facilities and/or energy resource development are entitled to P0.01 per kilowatt-hour of the total electricity sales of generation companies and energy resource developers to finance electrification, livelihood and development projects.

Cusi said that the newly signed circular provides for the targeted utilization of ER 1-94 funds to strengthen measures against COVID-19 during this period.  It seeks to fulfill the following objectives:

• to provide impetus to host local government units to align with the national government in providing ways to mitigate, if not contain, the transmission of COVID-19; 

• to help provide host LGUs sufficient, adequate, and readily available funding to undertake their duty to mitigate, if not contain, COVID-19 in their respective areas; 

• to rationalize and give host LGUs a framework to utilize ER 1-94 Funds to bolster their efforts to combat the COVID-19 crisis in their respective areas; and 

• to provide a doable and efficient manner of disposition and utilization of the ER 1 -94 Funds in light of the urgency of the current national situation. 

For the purposes of the circular, available ER 1-94 funds are funds that have already been remitted to host LGUs, and those funds that are still with the DOE and concerned generation companies as of the last quarterly billing period of 2019. 

Moreover, all available ER 1-94 funds will be utilized and disbursed by the host LGUs to manage the effects of COVID-19, in accordance with Republic Act 11469, or the "Bayanihan to Heal as One Act," for the following: 

• the facilitation of mass testing by providing and constructing facilities and/or acquiring proper medical testing kits to detect COVID-19, including the payment of medical testing and analysis fees; 

• provision of an emergency subsidy in the form of non-food items when there are delays or insufficiencies, and to augment existing subsidy programs of the national government to low income households while the State of Public Health Emergency is still in effect; 

• ensure the uninterrupted availability and access of essential commodities, particularly food and medicines, via a "mobile market" and the adoption of measures to minimize disruption in the supply chain; 

• support feeding programs of national government agencies and initiation of own feeding programs, including the provision of relief goods for low-income constituents during the State of Public Health Emergency; 

• acquisition of Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) for frontline medical workers, and medical and other decontamination/disinfecting supplies and equipment, including but not limited to alcohol disinfectants, sanitizers, common medicines, thermo-scanners, and contactless thermometers, respirators and/or ventilators; 

• provision, by construction or lease, of additional provincial, city, municipal, or barangay medical facilities, tents, safe holding areas, including quarantine centers and distribution centers, to accommodate the increasing number of patients and medical reliefs; 

• electricity cost subsidies to newly constructed facilities of provincial, city, municipal, or barangay hospitals and health clinics, including the increase in electricity demand, as calculated, metered and certified by concerned distribution utilities by reason of COVID-19, 

• provision of cremation or burial services to families affected by COVID- 19; and 

• other reasonable and tangible measures to contain, mitigate and eliminate the transmission of COVID-19, and manage and mitigate its effects to the community and individuals.   FPL (FREEMAN)

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