P418-million power subsidy for poor families sought
MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian on Sunday asked the government to set aside P418 million in electricity subsidy for over four million “lifeline” consumers to help low-income households cope with the country’s worsening inflation.
Gatchalian, chair of the Senate ways and means committee, said providing an additional P1 in state subsidy for every kilowatt-hour (kWh) consumed by poor families would allow them to buy 7.5 kilos of rice a month.
The financial aid, he said, may be sourced from the P5.3-trillion national budget this year. The senator authored Republic Act No. 115521, or the Lifeline Rate Extension Act, which provided state subsidies for lifeline customers, or those who consume less than 100 kWh monthly.
“We’re happy that the law that we proposed was able to help many of our countrymen,” Gatchalian said in a statement.
“But we could help them even more if they will be able to spend their money for other expenses as the country’s inflation rate remains high,” he said.
By his own estimate, Gatchalian said the law helped poor households in the National Capital Region to save as much as P223.34 in February this year, a slight increase from the P194.36 they saved during the same month in 2022.
Citing data from the Philippine Statistics Authority, he said the savings from the lifeline electricity rates was enough to buy 5.6 kilos of regular-milled rice during the period. The senator said the proposed additional subsidy would help low-income families have a monthly savings of P296.67.
Of the four million lifeline consumers, nearly 210,000 households are in Metro Manila, according to Gatchalian.
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