Experts have been warning of a pandemic for several decades already, and while developments in the field of medical science are far more advanced today than it was 30 years ago, nobody expected the effects of COVID-19 across all facets of life to be this dire.
Economies across the globe, even the most developed ones, were not spared from the health crisis. Businesses are still reeling from the repercussions of extended lockdowns and the staggered rollout of vaccines has left communities in developing countries vulnerable.
The Aboitiz Group’s power arm, AboitizPower, had its share of organizational challenges brought about by the pandemic in 2020, but these did not hinder the company from fulfilling its promise of advancing business and communities.
At the onset of local quarantines in the country, the Department of Energy (DOE) issued a circular allowing communities that host power generation projects to use their revenue shares from these facilities under the Energy Regulations No. 1-94 (ER 1-94) program to help combat the effects of COVID-19.
“Given the severity of the COVID-19 crisis, we at the DOE came up with the necessary circular that would enable host LGUs to use their available ER 1-94 funds to augment their COVID-19 response funding,” DOE Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi said. “We are pleased to learn that our vision is being fully realized. Malayo ang nararating ng bawat tulong sa panahon nitong pandemya (Every help goes a long way during this pandemic),” he added.
AboitizPower President and Chief Executive Officer Emmanuel V. Rubio welcomed this move, saying this development was a push in the right direction as it was expected to aid in strengthening local government response to the ongoing health crisis.
“This is our contribution to the government’s efforts to ensure that all LGUs have enough resources to help contain, mitigate, and eventually eliminate the spread of COVID-19 in their areas,” Rubio added.
As of December 2020, the AboitizPower group and the DOE have remitted a total of P671 million in direct benefits to around 130 host communities all over the Philippines, helping them stay afloat during these trying times.
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.
The fund can be used by host beneficiaries for the electrification of areas or households that have no access to power, development and livelihood programs, as well as reforestation, watershed management, health, and environmental enhancement initiatives. The circular covering ER 1-94 funds allows host LGUs to use their shares to help manage their COVID-19 response in accordance with the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act.
Initiatives that were implemented by AboitizPower’s host LGUs include holding areas or distribution centers, medical and PPE supplies, facility decontamination, and relief goods to feed low-income households during the prolonged quarantine period.
AboitizPower has been at the forefront of social development in its host communities throughout the years and will even be more so as the nation continues to face this health crisis.
In strategic collaboration with our partner organizations and local governments, we will pursue our brand promise of advancing business and communities even more implicitly as the nation continues to face this global health crisis.