LOCAL GOVERNMENT units (LGUs) need to consider extensions for paying real property tax and obtaining business permits due to a fresh coronavirus surge, Senator Maria Lourdes Nancy S. Binay-Angeles said.

“Given the current spike in COVID-19 cases, the extension of deadlines will help decrease the movement of the people,” Ms. Binay-Angeles said in a statement on Tuesday, adding that the LGUs should be accommodating by not imposing penalties.

The Health department reported 33,169 new coronavirus infections on Monday, with a 46% positivity rate after testing 73,234 on Saturday.

Ms. Binay said LGUs in the capital region and other areas with high positivity rates should consider replicating the city of Manila’s decision to extend the business permit deadline to March 31 instead of the usual Jan. 20.

The Senator also recommended the use of digital payment options that enable more convenient modes of payment. “LGUs should definitely look at integrating electronic modes of payment in the collection of payment of taxes and fees,” she said.

As for those required to be physically present to file and sign documents, she proposed that LGUs temporarily accept digital or electronic copies pending verification or submission of original documents.

“This will be more convenient for their constituents and will help to avoid long lines or gatherings,” Ms. Binay said.

She also called for utilities to suspend disconnections to give customers more time to settle unpaid bills. — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan