Senator Win Gatchalian urged beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) to register in the government’s lifeline electricity rate program to avail of discounts on their electricity bills.
“Pamaskong handog ito para sa mga kababayan nating sadyang hirap sa buhay. Palalawigin pa ng gobyerno ang subsidiya sa kuryente pagdating ng Enero 2024,” said Gatchalian, principal author of Republic Act 11552 or an Act Extending and Enhancing the Implementation of the Lifeline Rate.
Gatchalian noted that the tripartite body composed of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Energy (DOE), and Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) had earlier delayed the implementation of the new lifeline rate program from September this year to January 2024 in a bid to allow the enlistment of more 4Ps beneficiaries.
To avail of the subsidy, Gatchalian said beneficiaries need to consume not more than 100 kilowatt-hours of electricity per month. The program covers households who are unable to pay their bills, including beneficiaries of 4Ps, or customers considered to be living below the poverty threshold set by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).
“We pushed for this measure because we wanted more people to benefit from the subsidy program,” the senator said, noting that for those living within the franchise area of the Manila Electric Company (Meralco), the subsidy could range between 20 to 100 percent depending on how much electricity they consume. The power reduction rate varies depending on the prevailing rates of the distribution utilities or electric cooperatives.
Gatchalian further emphasized that the tripartite body must also ensure that the enrollment is not too cumbersome for the 4Ps beneficiaries. “The government must step up efforts to get deserving households on the list of beneficiaries and ensure that the enrollment procedure is both convenient and expeditious. There should also be an intensified information and dissemination campaign to reach as many beneficiaries as possible,” Gatchalian said.
According to the lawmaker, the subsidy is meant to assist electricity consumers adversely affected by the volatility of fuel prices and high cost of basic commodities.