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Solons hit Aquino for rising power rates

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PHOTO BY Cheryl Ravelo

Legislators blasted President Benigno Aquino III, Department of Energy (DOE) and Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) for seemingly allowing the highest electricity rates in history to hit the reeling Filipino consumers.

Administration ally Senator Antonio Trillanes IV challenged Aquino to put pressure on Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) and other power generators for the growing power mess, adding that his administration had its options but still failed to stop the impending power rate hike.

“Do we no longer have hope for this in the next three years under President Aquino?” he asked.

He earlier urged Aquino to subsidize the increasing power cost to make up for the failures instead of putting the burden on the shoulders of the public.

“You take charge since this was your fault,” Trillanes said.

The senator proposed to Aquino to use the Malampaya Fund to at least lessen the increase of power rates. However, the DOE said it’s not likely to happen.

In the House, Reps. Carlos Zarate of Bayan Muna, Luz Ilagan of Gabriela and Abakada party-list said “corporate greed” has trampled the independent power producers (IPPs) and burdening its consumers.

“The lack of political will of the Aquino administration to reign in the greed of power industry cartel is as much to be blamed at present,” Zarate said. “These players who are mostly election financiers and allies of the administration are more emboldened now because they knew Malacanang will not lift a finger to stop their greed,” he added.

Zarate even quoted Pope Francis that today’s “tyranny of unfettered capitalism” and the “idolatry of money” is the very evident in the country.

Meralco was supposed to impose a P4.15 power rate hike in December 2013, but the hike was stopped by the Supreme Court.

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