Reliable, affordable power to attract big investments—Citizen Watch, Stratbase
ENERGY security is crucial for the success of the Duterte government’s economic agenda and this can be met by encouraging investment in infrastructure that could expand access and provide affordable and reliable energy for all, according to consumer advocate group Citizen Watch and the Stratbase ADR Institute.
”The success of President Duterte’s economic agenda will directly be affected by the ability of the government to provide reliable and competitive electricity prices that will encourage the influx of big investments in infrastructure and job intensive industries,” Citizen Watch organizer Paco Pangalangan said.
At a recent forum held in Manila, government energy officials presented their new energy plan to various stakeholders and energy experts. At the forum, Department of Energy (DOE) Undersecretary Wimpy Fuentebella said that the DOE will focus on quality, reliable and affordable supply, and crafting a balanced energy mix.
Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Committee on Economic Affairs, said, “Building a stable and sustainable energy supply will be critical to achieving industrialization, dignified domestic jobs, bolstering household incomes, improving consumer welfare, and fostering sustainable inclusive economic growth across the entire Philippines.”
Meanwhile, House Committee on Energy chairman Lord Allan Velasco emphasized the need to reduce the heavy tax burden on the energy sector.
Quoting data from the DOE, Velasco showed that royalty taxes, the value-added tax, universal charge, and feed-in-tariff are taxes that are all passed on to the consumers and push up the final cost of electric service.
“The energy tax is another such burden on consumers. It is our legislative priority to make our electric power rates more affordable to create a conducive environment for manufacturing and commercial businesses, and to ease the burden on Filipino households,” said Velasco.
Pangalangan supported Velasco’s point, saying that, ”The findings and recommendations of the DOE Task Force to Study Ways to Reduce the Price of Electricity show that the energy sector is overtaxed. Hence, an immediate review is needed to support the President’s directive to rationalize our tax system.”