• Group warns vs oil, power rate surge


    Consumer group CitizenWatch Philippines has warned against oil and power rate hikes because of the enactment of the new tax law.

    CitizenWatch said in a statement on Monday the 4 percent inflation recorded last week marks “the beginning of the ripple effect caused by Republic Act 10963, or Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (Train) Law, with fuel and power hikes coming up next.”

    The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) reported that inflation accelerated to 4 percent in January from 3.3 percent in December, the highest in more than three years.

    The central bank cited the impact of the first round of tax reform and higher petroleum and food prices.

    “We call for a ‘fitness inventory’ of power plants to safeguard the consuming public against unnecessary price spikes. For our part, we commit to continue our ‘Power Plant Watch’ initiative to highlight the importance of adequate power supply to the country’s energy security.” CitizenWatch Philippines convenor Hannah Viola said.

    “At the end of the day, it’s the ordinary Filipino consumers who are left with no choice but to carry the burden of the increase in prices, especially in fuel costs and electricity rates,” Viola added.

    Citing data from the Department of Energy (DoE), the group said the first tranche of hikes in petroleum prices took effect last month.

    The price of diesel climbed by P2.80 per liter, gasoline by P2.97 per liter, and kerosene by P3.36 per liter. Liquefied petroleum gas also rose by P1.12 per kilo.

    “For electricity rates, the direct impact of the projected increase will be reflected on the blended generation charge attributable to additional excise tax on fuel and the transmission charge, which is now subject to VAT [value-added tax],” CitizenWatch said.

    Earlier, Manila Electric Co. announced a P1.08 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) hike in electricity rates, primarily due to a higher generation charge.

    The rate hike would be implemented in two tranches.


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