Economic relief for workers, families affected by CQ urged

HOUSE Deputy Minority Leader and Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate on Sunday proposed an at least one month moratorium in the payment of electric and water bills and house and office rentals or the government extending a subsidy as economic relief for workers and families being affected by the community quarantine in the National Capital Region (NCR) due to the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

“At the minimum there should be a moratorium on electricity and water bill collections or better yet there should be a one month subsidy for these utilities,” said Zarate.

“A month’s worth of salary should also be subsidized by the government or the company and given to workers affected by the lockdown. This also goes for families in the informal sector,” said Zarate.

“The additional P1,000 pension increase for Social Security System (SSS) should now be given because the elderly are the most susceptible to COVID-19. The social pension should also immediately be increased by at least P500,” he said.

“Furthermore hazard pay or double salary should be given to frontline responders to COVID-19 cases as well as journalists covering the cases, garbage collectors who are now doing daily collections and other jobs needed to keep NCR clean and sanitized,” he added

“There should also be a moratorium on house and office rentals as well as tax collections. A suspension and transfer of set schedules in March to April for appointments in government offices like passports, visas, etc. These measures should be done so that workers would not have to risk their lives and health just to eke out a living,” said Zarate.

House Assistant Majority Leader and ACT CIS party-list Rep. Niña Taduran said the government should impose a moratorium on the repayment of debts, taxes, fees and utility bills of the affected consumers, which are due within the one month community quarantine period in Metro Manila.

Taduran also asked the local government units to provide sanitizers, face masks and vitamins, and if possible, relief goods to every family in their jurisdiction to ensure that everyone will be protected from the COVID-19.

“Dapat ay i-activate na ang BERTH o Barangay Emergency Response Team on Health na may kasamang medical teams tulad ng nurses. Suyurin nila ang kanilang communities para matiyak na lahat ay safe sa virus, at kung mayroong may simtomas ng COVID-19 ay agad na mabigyan ng treatment. Kung maaari nga ay may economic package pa para sa mga tao, lalo na ‘yung mga hand-to-mouth o arawan ang source ng kinikita,” Taduran suggested.

Taduran also asked the water concessionaires to halt the water interruption schedule for one month.

“Hindi naman siguro mauubos ang tubig kung itutuloy-tuloy ang supply sa Metro Manila. Pagkatapos ng community quarantine, puwedeng ibalik ang rotational water interruption. Emergency situation, walang tubig? Ano ba ‘yun?” said Taduran.