MANILA, Philippines-President Benigno Aquino III on Monday said that government is still reviewing the possibility of granting subsidy to the public on their electric consumption amid the looming power rate hike in the country.
Urged by various sectors to tap the Malampaya gas fund as source of subsidy, Aquino said he has tasked his cabinet secretaries to study the matter.
“Itong araw na ito (Lunes) inatasan ko si Secretaries Icot Petilla, Cesar Purisima, pati ang DOJ, iyong Chief Presidential Legal Counsel, Executive Secretary and Secretary (Florencio) Abad na i-review paano ba magagamit—paano at puwede ba magamit ang Malampaya funds to cushion the impact.”
“So baka pumasok iyong pagbibigay ng subsidy dito sa ating mga—baka, ulitin ko lang ha, baka muna dahil pinaaaral ko pa nga; subsidy doon sa ating mga public transports, ano, during the period of up to, if I remember correctly, hanggang February, ano, para hindi na kailangang mag-rate increase,” Aquino said in a press briefing during the anniversary of Department of Labor and Employment.
Aquino added he expects to see the proposals before he will leave for Japan for its implementation.
Aquino maintained it is difficult to “speculate” on the subsidy via Malampaya funds to date since it is still under study.
“Public funds iyong Malampaya, accounting of the same, ‘pag masyadong diffuse iyong pag-i-implement nito baka mahirapan tayo sa liquidation, etcetera. So that has to be studied exactly how it can cushion: first, if it can, and how it will actually cushion. So I’m awaiting the proposals from the secretaries I mentioned.”
The government’s power subsidy plan followed the looming power rate increase proposed by Manila Electric Company (Meralco) which has been approved by Energy Regulatory Commission.
Under Meralco’s staggering power rate hike scheme, there will be a three trances on increases: P2.41 per kilowatt hour in December, P1.00 per kilowatt hour in February 2014 and P 0.44 kilowatt per hour on March 2014.