Gabriela Women’s Party Representatives Liza Maza and Luz Ilagan today joined partylist solons from Bayan Muna in filing a bill to remove the 12% Value Added Tax (VAT) on electricity in a bid to immediately reduce electricity rates.
“This measure is a much needed relief for consumers amid skyrocketing food and oil prices. Initial studies show that if this is approved, electricity rates can be reduced by as much as P1.50/kWh,” said Rep. Maza.
Studies conducted by the People Opposed to Warrantless Electricity Rates (POWER) also reveal that VAT is applied on almost all items of every consumer’s electricity bill including systems losses, lifeline rate subsidies and local franchise taxes.
Amid accusations of diverting the issue of excessive power rates and defending the Lopezes against the Arroyo government’s supposed bid to lower electricity rates by taking-over the public utility, Maza threw back the challenge at the administration to classify as urgent the proposed measure to remove the VAT on electricity rates.
“Is President Arroyo genuinely interested in upholding consumers’ interests and bringing down electricity rates or are they merely using the issue in order to wrest control of the public utility from the Lopezes in a display of vendetta against its critics? We challenge the Arroyo administration to immediately classify as urgent the bill to remove VAT on electricity rates.”
Gabriela Women’s Party likewise renewed calls for Meralco to reduce electricity rates and cease from passing on excessive systems loss charges to consumers.
As militant solons filed the bill, members of partylist groups Gabriela Women’s Party, Bayan Muna and Anakpawis, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan and POWER held picket outside the House of Representatives demanding urgent action on the measure.#