GENERAL LUNA, Siargao Island -- Department of Energy Alfonso Cusi has expressed his support for local businesses in Siargao who are struggling to process their documentary prerequisites to operate, and will assist them in extending their temporary lighting permits.
Business owners and investors in the town of General Luna, Surigao del Norte have sought help from Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar on the sidelines of the Aid and Humanitarian Operations Nationwide (AHON) Convergence Program launch in Siargao Island last week.
The Siargao Island Business Organization (SIBO) met with Secretary Andanar on June 12, 2021 about their concerns on the red tape in the processing of permits in setting up their businesses there.
On Friday, June 18, 2021, Secretary Andanar handed over the letter of appeal of the SIBO to Department of Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, outlining their concern over the approaching termination date of their temporary lighting permits. The group has appealed for an extension on this.
Their temporary lighting permits granted by the Siargao Electric Cooperative (SIARELCO) are expiring on July 17, 2021 and yet their building permits are yet to be issued despite complying with the LGU's documentary requirements. More than 200 business owners and investors in General Luna are in a predicament because of this. The issuance of a building permit is required to process permanent electrical lines.
SIBO also raised their concerns on the required high-priced minimum electrical rate for those establishments that have bought their own transformers in order to have permanent electrical lines. According to the letter, these businesses have to pay their monthly bill “starting from P25,000 up to P80,0000 and more” even if they have not consumed much electricity for that period. They are also seeking clarifications for the correct process for applying for permanent electrical lines.
During the meeting Energy Secretary Cusi and Secretary Andanar responded positively to their appeal, saying they will be coordinating with SIARELCO on the matter.
“Makakaasa po kayo na sa tulong ng DOE, gagampanan po agad namin yan at sisiguraduhin po namin na hindi na po kayo magkakaroon ng abala (We assure you that DOE will help. We will immediately respond to this and make sure you won’t have any problem regarding this),” Secretary Cusi said.
Secretary Andanar assured business owners that the government is ready to aid them as they recover from the pandemic.
“Itong mga establisyementong ito, kagaya din ng ibang negosyo, ay apektado din ng pandemya kung kaya hanggat kaya ay bigyan natin ng tulong. Paraan din para tulungan na makabangon ang ekonomiya [These establishments, like other businesses, are affected by the pandemic as well. That’s why as long as we can, we should help them. This is also a way of helping the economy recover],” he said. (PCOO/PIA-Surigao del Norte)