Telco companies give 30-day payment extension period amid community quarantine

Aileen Cerrudo   •   March 16, 2020   •   1997

Telecommunication companies will implement a 30-day payment extension period for their customers after the government imposed a community quarantine.

PLDT, Sky Cable and Globe have issued an advisory announcing a 30-day payment extension period from the customers due date.

PLDT also issued a 30-day payment extension period for all of their postpaid customers in PLDT Home, PLDT Enterprise, Smart & Sun postpaid.

Hackers deface PLDT customer support Twitter account

Robie de Guzman   •   May 28, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Hacking group Anonymous Philippines appears to have taken over one of PLDT’s Twitter accounts on Thursday, May 28.

As of 12:34 p.m., the Twitter account PLDT_Cares made a post calling out the company’s internet service.

“As the pandemic arises, Filipinos need fast internet to communicate with their loved ones. Do your job. The corrupt fear us, the honest support us, the heroic join us. We are Anonymous. We are Legion. We do not forgive. We do not forget. Expect us,” the post read.

The name of the account was also changed to read @PLDT Doesn’t Care, and succeeding posts were accompanied by #PLDTHacked.

It also posted another message, this time tagging Globe, another telecommunication company in the Philippines.

https://twitter.com/PLDT_Cares/status/1265868513077456896

Other PLDT social media accounts appears to be unaffected.

The PLDT has yet to issue a statement on the matter.

Duterte warns of return to strict quarantine restrictions if COVID-19 crisis worsens

Marje Pelayo   •   May 20, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte reminds the public to heed government protocols for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis even after community quarantine has been relaxed. 

On May 16, Metro Manila shifted to modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) from enhanced community quarantine to help revive the Philippines’ crippled economy. 

But President Duterte stressed that such relaxation in restrictions doesn’t mean the country is free of COVID-19 and warned that the government might again tighten restrictions if situations get worse. 

“Remember this, the loosening of the restrictions does not mean [we’re COVID-free],” he said. 

“If the contamination will be as fast as before, and it will continue to infect yung nakalabas na (people who are allowed to go out), then we’ll have to just go back to original program,” he added. 

Meanwhile, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque denied allegations that the government is not ready or has no policy for the conduct of COVID-19 mass testing. 

Roque stressed that the government in fact is now preparing to hit the target of 30,000 a day testing capacity by the end of May. 

“From the very beginning, we have had a systematic targeted testing at sa tingin po natin ang sinusunod natin ay benchmark recognized internationally specifically by the WHO,” the Palace Spokesperson said in defense against against critics who are questioning the government’s advice of letting private companies shoulder COVID-19 testing for their respective workers who are returning to work. 

Roque added that the government is targeting to test around 1.5% to 2% of the more than 100 million Filipinos for COVID-19 infection and clarified on what is referred to as ‘mass testing.’

“Ang tawag po dapat ay expanded targeted testing,” he said. 

READ: Phl conducting ‘expanded’ targeted testing, not mass testing vs COVID-19 – DOH

“Wala pong bansa sa buong mundo na ang lahat ng mga mamamayan nito (ay tine-test) kaya nga po mali ang terminong mass testing,” he concluded. MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)

Poe asks Meralco to delay payment for ‘shocking’ bills until updated ones arrive

Robie de Guzman   •   May 18, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Grace Poe on Monday urged the Manila Electric Company (Meralco) to hold off payment for electricity bills until it addresses “confusing” and “unusually high” charges to consumers amid the community quarantine.

In a statement, Poe asked Meralco to address the concerns over the “shocking” electricity bills received by consumers this month.

“We ask Meralco to issue a final and correct billing based on accurate meter reading of the actual kilowatt-hour consumption,” she said.

“Until such accurately updated bill indicating exact staggered due is received by customers, it is proper that they hold off payment,” she added.

Meralco earlier explained that the significant increase reflected in power bills was due to the higher consumption and large number of people staying at home amid the quarantine to prevent novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infection.

It also said that the March and April bills were based on the average daily consumption of consumers from December 2019, and January to February 2020.

“While we recognize the efforts of Meralco to explain, the confusing billings and unusually high charges have left many households in distress, especially those who lost their sources of income due to the lockdown,” Poe said.

Poe, who chairs the Senate committee on public services, added that while correcting the electricity bills, Meralco should also assure continuous power service in households amid the public health crisis and hot season.

“As the company sorts out our billings, they should keep our lights on as uninterrupted power supply is crucial to run life-saving equipment in hospitals and to keep people connected,” she said.

Meralco earlier said it has suspended the disconnection of unpaid accounts falling due within the quarantine period. It added that some of its meter-reading activities have already resumed and that it remains accurate and transparent.

The power distributor also stressed that consumers may opt to pay their bills on a staggered scheme following guidelines issued by the government amid the quarantine.

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