• Poe decries P1B hike in govt utility bills


    IF the government wants the people to heed its call to save energy and water, it should serve as an example by seriously cutting down its utility bill spending by reducing consumption, Sen. Grace Poe said on Tuesday.

    Poe issued the statement after learning that the utility bill spending of the government has increased by an average of P1 billion annually since 2011 and bulk of the amount goes to paying power fees.

    Based on the annual financial report of the Commission on Audit (CoA), the government spent P9.26 billion in 2011 for water and electricity bills; P10.48 billion in 2012; P11.64 billion in 2013; and P12.30 billion in 2014.

    For 2015, the government allocated P12.9 billion for electricity and water bills or more than P1 billion a month.

    The allocation will be bigger in 2016 because the proposed budget for utilities expenses was pegged at P14.13 billion, P1 billion higher than the allocation for 2015.

    “We often hear the government asking the public to be judicious in their energy and water consumption, but it seems the government is not doing its part. Our government agencies must also prescribe and adhere to measures that aim to reduce the country’s carbon footprint,” Poe said in a statement.

    If the government really wants to convince the public to contribute in the effort to conserve energy and water, she added, it should employ measures to cut its huge consumption.

    The government, according to Poe, must implement mechanisms of the Renewable Energy Act of 2008, which encourages the “development and utilization of renewable energy sources as tools to effectively prevent or reduce harmful emissions” while balancing the goals of economic growth and protecting the environment.

    It should also consider installing solar panels in government buildings, which would be cheaper, to cut down on electricity consumption.

    The Philippines is a participant in the 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention in Paris which will be attended by 140 heads of state.

    According to Poe, the climate change conference is all about making pledges that add up to sufficient global action.

    The Philippine government, she said, must also pledge to do its part and not just ask different sectors to contribute and make sacrifices.

    “The greatest push for climate change mitigation and adaptation should begin with the government. It’s the basic principle of practicing what you preach,” Poe added.


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