Following the recent signing of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of Republic Act (RA) No. 11552 or the Act Extending and Enhancing the Implementation of the Lifeline Rate until 2050, Senator Win Gatchalian called on the government to ensure that marginalized consumers are the actual beneficiaries of the electricity lifeline rate subsidy.
Gatchalian emphasized that while the law intends to provide assistance in the form of subsidy to those living below the poverty line, the executive department needs to ensure that targeted beneficiaries are those who will actually benefit from the subsidy.
The ongoing review of the list of the government’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) bodes well with the implementation of the law, particularly in the determination of beneficiaries of the government subsidy, the senator pointed out.
“Ang panawagan ko lang sa gobyerno ay tiyakin na ang dapat makinabang sa subsidiyang ito ay ang mga tunay na benepisyaryo o yung mga pinakamahihirap nating kababayan. Inaasahan na ang patuloy nating pagbibigay ng subsidiya ay magbibigay sa kanila ng kaluwagan sa gitna ng mataas na presyo ng mga pangunahing bilihin at iba pang buwanang bayarin sa bahay,” Gatchalian said.
The IRR for RA 11552 was recently approved by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), the Department of Energy (DOE), and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). The measure, which was signed into law in May 2021, essentially extended the lifeline rate allowing the country’s marginalized electricity consumers to avail of and benefit from the lifeline rate for a much longer time.
Under the law, qualified marginalized end-users include 4Ps beneficiaries and those who have been certified and continually validated as such by their power distribution utility based on the criteria determined by the ERC.
Gatchalian, who serves as vice-chair of the Senate Committee on Energy, emphasized that the extension of the provision of government subsidy for marginalized electric consumers is more meaningful given economic uncertainties brought by a succession of crises that include the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine conflict.