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Electricity subsidy promotes begging among Filipinos, group says

June 4, 2008 12:57pm
MANILA, Philippines - Malacañang’s electric rate subsidy for the Philippines’ poorest power consumers “intends to promote begging as a way of life," a militant group and a fisherfolk alliance said.

In a statement, Anakpawis party list and the Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) said that a P2-billion government program allotting P500 for each of four million power consumers “is nothing but a super roadshow presentation that intends to promote begging as a way of life."

Besides characterizing the subsidy as “the grandmother of all band aid solutions," Anakpawis secretary general Cherry Clemente said that the “The Filipino people are not begging for alms."

“They want clear cut solutions to high power rates, not one-time subsidy of P 500 in order to cope with their power bills," Clemente said.

According to the party list official, President Arroyo has been rejecting sound and viable solutions that would substantially reduce power rates like the removal of 12 percent expanded value added tax and other regressive taxes on power and petroleum products, the repeal of the Energy and Power Industry Reform Act (Epira), and the nationalization of power and oil industry.

“They are not helping the poor. The P 500 one-time subsidy is nothing but a trivial approach to the worsening problem of high power cost. Mrs. Arroyo and her company of bureaucrat capitalists are just taking us again into another high and bumpy roller coaster ride," Clemente lamented.

For his part, Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said the P2 billion subsidy to families consuming less than 100 kilowatt hours of electricity monthly was a “de facto electioneering" intended to gain support of not less 12 million voters in Metro Manila and nearby provinces.

“Malacañang knew that almost 80 percent of the voters in Metro Manila and nearby provinces like Laguna, Rizal, Cavite and Bulacan are anti Arroyo. And these anti-Arroyo voters are being serviced by Meralco," Hicap said.

Pamalakaya and Anakpawis said the P 2-B subsidy for power will be used by Malacañang as a rallying point to justify succeeding releases of taxpayers money amounting to as much as P 93.6 billion. - GMANews.TV
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