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Amnesty for power, water connections proposed

The City Council approved on first reading a proposed ordinance granting amnesty to qualified applicants for electric and water connections in the city for a period of three months upon approval.

The ordinance authored by all members of the local legislative body stated that the local government grants amnesty for a period of 3 months upon approval to qualified applicants who completed their application requirements for electric and water connections but are unable to submit the same within the period provided for by Ordinance No. 116, series of 2018.

The ordinance stipulated that thereafter, no further amnesty shall be granted by the local government upon the expiration of the amnesty.

Earlier, the local legislative body passed Ordinance No. 116, series of 2018entitled granting amnesty to qualified applicants for electric and water connections in the City of Baguio for a period of 6 months upon approval which expired last March 2019.

The proposed ordinance explained that many qualified applicants for water and electric connections are reportedly clamouring for another amnesty period since their applicants were overtaken by the 6-month amnesty period due to financial constraints and lengthy compliance with the other requirements.

Further, the ordinance noted that studies and consultations were also conducted by the concerned offices of the local government that also prolonged their applications and contributed in the unnecessary delays until their unprocessed applications were overtaken by events with the expiration of the 6-month amnesty period earlier granted by the city.

Republic Act (RA) 7160 or the Local Government Code of the Philippines provided that local government units may, through ordinances duly approved, grant tax exemptions, incentives or reliefs under such terms and conditions as they may deem necessary.

Previously, the local government had been grating amnesty to qualified applicants for electric and water connection applicants from the different barangays of the city every 3 years or when elections are just around the corner to boost the possible re-election bid of some city officials.

Under the rules and regulations in the grant of the amnesty for qualified applicants for electric connections, the local government will be waiving the issuance of the required Certificate of Final Electrical Inspection (CFEI) being issued to them before the Benguet Electric Cooperative (BENECO) will allow them to avail of the power connections.

One of the reasons why applicants for electric connections are not being granted such connections is the alleged absence of their proof of ownership of the lands where their structures are erected which is the major requirements for the issuance of the CFEI.

The ordinance was referred to the concerned committee of the local legislative body for study and recommendation whether or not the same will be passed on second and third readings prior to its full implementation.

The local legislative body is currently winding up its remaining 3 regular sessions for the term before the expiration of the term of the present batch of members. - Dexter A. See