Cut in hydropower shares protestedPhilippine Daily Inquirer
SAN MANUEL, Pangasinan—The towns of Pangasinan and Benguet, which host the San Roque Dam, are complaining about massive cuts in their annual shares from taxes and revenues generated by the 345-megawatt San Roque hydroelectric power plant.
San Manuel and San Nicolas towns in Pangasinan and the mining town of Itogon in Benguet have been receiving millions of pesos in shares for years from San Roque operations.
But since the privatization of the power plant’s management, as well as the enforcement of Republic Act No. 9513 (Renewable Energy Act of 2008), these allocations have been slashed drastically.
San Manuel Councilor Augustus Almogela, chair of the town council’s laws and ordinances committee, said his town refused to receive the P100,000 tax share for the power plant’s 2010 revenues, which the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (PSALM) sent in July.
Transfer of ownership
The Strategic Power Development Corp. (SPDC), a subsidiary of San Miguel Corp., is now the plant’s independent power producer administrator (Ippa), after the facility’s management was bid out by the state-owned PSALM. SPDC took over the facility on Jan. 26, 2010.
“We did not accept what PSALM remitted to us because that was too small, compared to the P10.4 million a year that we used to receive,” Almogela said.
Pangasinan Administrator Rafael Baraan said the agency responsible for paying the shares should be identified. “There is a gray area as to [which agency] is responsible [for] paying [our share from] the national wealth tax,” he said.
The national wealth tax represents 1 percent of the gross revenue of a renewable energy firm, which is paid directly to local governments that host these firms, following this sharing scheme: 20 percent for the province, 45 percent for the town and 35 percent for the barangay.
Not in contract?
Almogela said: “In the agreement between SPDC and PSALM, when it acquired the right to administer [the electricity produced by San Roque], it was not stated that SPDC would pay the local governments’ national wealth tax shares.”
San Nicolas treasurer Francisco Ladia Jr. said Mayor Leoncio Saldivar III had instructed him to accept the town’s P96,000 share, which, he noted, was short of the quarterly P2-million share they received in 2009.
“But our question is who will give us our share from Jan. 27 to Dec. 31, 2010, and our share for 2011?” Ladia said by telephone.
From P10M to P2.8M
Itogon Mayor Oscar Camantiles earlier complained that Itogon had seen its annual revenue share of P10 million reduced to P2.8 million for the San Roque Power Corp. (SRPC) revenues generated in 2010 and 2011.
Officials of the villages of Ampucao and Dalupirip also complained about receiving far less than their annual share, Camantiles said.
Benguet Gov. Nestor Fongwan, who visited the SRPC recently, blamed RA 9513 for the reduced benefits. Gabriel Cardinoza with a report from Vincent Cabreza, Inquirer Northern Luzon