"The proposed law will provide victims of calamities with a way to stretch their financial resources."
In every calamity, the area expected to take a severe hit is our household budget. For aside from a possible temporary loss of income, there are unforeseen expenditures. In an instance, we are obligated to acquire things for which we have not allotted any budget for. Aggravating the matters is the fact that some enterprising individuals, unscrupulous businessmen take advantage of the situation, hoarding essential commodities and jacking up their prices.
By the time things normalize, most household are heavily in debt, with unpaid utility bills all piled up.
It’s a good thing Senator Francis Tolentino had come up with a proposal aimed at relieving Filipinos of the burden of paying utility bills during calamities and disasters – the Three Gives Law.
In his Senate Bill No. 1473, Tolentino wants to institutionalize an installment payment scheme for basic utility bills during calamities. The proposed law endeavors to provide victims of calamities with a way to stretch their financial resources by allowing the payment of electricity, water, Internet, and telephone bills in three installments, thus the title Three-Gives Law. No interest or penalty shall be imposed during the moratorium in payment of utility bills.
Under the bill, holders of public utility franchises and all service providers will be prohibited from exacting payment or from disconnecting the service due to non-payment during the entire duration of the moratorium.
The amounts that fall due during the period of moratorium period shall be payable in three equal monthly installments, without interest, which shall accrue a month after the cessation of a state of calamity.
Thus, instead of spending for the payment of the aforementioned utilities, the money may instead be used for the purchase of food or perhaps medicines, which are urgent in catastrophes or health epidemics.
While people will still be obliged to settle the bills they have incurred during the period of the calamity, it would at least give them breathing space until everything, including the household budget, settles back to normalcy.
I really find it weird why social distancing is imposed on private motorists ferrying passengers who are members of their household.
Remember the motorcycle rider who was fined P5,000 for ferrying his wife, a nurse, aboard his motorcycle? According to Inter-agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases, this is not allowed.
These people, the motorists and their passengers who are members of their household, are supposedly sharing everything in their own homes. So, why impose social distancing on them once they are onboard their private vehicles?
Yesterday, Ang Probinsyano Congressman Ronnie Ong appealed to the IATF to amend its guidelines on physical distancing to allow private motorists, including motorcycle riders, to ferry passengers who are members of their household.
According Ong, it doesn't make sense that people who are living, eating and sleeping together in the same house should be apprehended for being in the same vehicle or for riding together in a motorcycle for supposed violation of the rules on physical distancing set by the IATF.
Ong said that this physical distancing rule inside private vehicles and motorcycles should only apply to those who are not part of the household. This could be easily checked by simple identification verification.
Hoping the IATF listens to Ong. The policy just doesn’t make sense.