The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) has expressed concern over the rampant reports of extortions involving contractors or volunteers of Abotiz-led Visayan Electric Co. Inc. (VECO).
ERC chairperson Agnes Devanadera said the agency received reports through various platforms, particularly from social media, that the delay in restoring electricity in Cebu was not due to the damaged distribution lines but due to the alleged rampant bribery and corruption of some people who prioritize the restoration of electricity of those who offer money.
In light of this, ERC directed VECO to conduct a prompt and thorough investigation into the matter.
“The number of incidents reported to the Commission which involved either VECO contractors or volunteers or both allegedly extorting money from VECO’s consumers to expedite the restoration of their electricity is alarming and needs the immediate appropriate action by VECO,” Devanadera said.
“These reports of alleged extortion are truly disturbing and we cannot just disregard or take these things sitting down. We enjoin VECO to use the necessary means to obtain a thorough, comprehensive, and unbiased finding/s, including the use of witnesses’ testimony when available”, she added.
Devanadera asked VECO to submit the results within 15 days from receipt of the directive. The report should include the actions taken against those involved, if any, and the measures put in place to prevent extortion from being committed.
ERC also directed VECO to fasttrack the restoration of electricity in its franchise area.