Despite long lines, businesses say no cash and fuel shortage in Cebu

Lorraine Ecarma
Despite long lines, businesses say no cash and fuel shortage in Cebu

WITHDRAWALS. Lines form at ATMs in Cebu as early as 7 am after Typhoon Odette devastated the province.

Martin Michlmayr/Wikimedia Commons

Banks and gasoline stations have to limit their operations because of the lack of power supply. The provincial government offers to meet them halfway.

CEBU CITY, Philippines – Despite the long lines forming at ATMs across Cebu province the past days, the bankers’ association here gave assurances that there was no shortage of cash, and that their operations were only being limited by the lack of power supply.

“We don’t have power, so we rely on the diesel and gasoline to power it up for our gensets, so we can up our ATMs. But we can assure everybody that there is no shortage of cash in Cebu,” Cebu Bankers Club president Romeo Comabig said during a post-disaster coordination meeting called by the Cebu provincial government on Wednesday, December 22.

Comabig said most ATMs were down in places without power, or where power was only partially restored.

In response, Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia offered to allow banks to refuel their generators at the capitol’s depots instead of regular gas stations. This way, they do not have to waste time lining up at regular gas stations to refill fuel tanks.

Residents in the province who wish to withdraw cash to buy basic necessities have to wait in line for their turn at ATMs. Lines form as early as 7 am.

Garcia also requested banks to open earlier, to offset daylight savings. Under the current scheme, banks close earlier so their employees may go home before nightfall.

This problem is linked to the long lines in fuel stations in the province. During the same meeting, representatives from Petron and Shell said the province had an ample supply of fuel. The only problem was that they relied on generators to power their pumps because electricity was still down.

For Shell, 29 out of 45 gas stations in Metro Cebu are operational. For Petron, 23 gas stations are now open, with gas stations in Mandaue City operational all day. 

Both companies said they have about 3 million liters of fuel each available across the island. 

In towns where electricity is still down, residents not only rely on fuel to power their vehicles but also to light up their homes. –