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    Posted January 24, 2014 by

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    Phl senator: Let’s amend energy law

    MINORITY leader Alan Peter Cayetano of the Philippine Senate on Friday asked colleagues to amend the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) in an effort to create an environment that would attract more investors in the power sector.
    ”One of the solutions is to amend EPIRA to address the findings of the various hearings that have shown the weaknesses in the present system,” Cayetano said in a press conference.
    He also called for high level talks among groups from private sector, and executive and legislative branches of government to solve the looming energy problem.
    Cayetano said amendments of the EPIRA and tax laws may finally solve the problem of high electricity rate and insufficiency of power supply.
    ”We should create an environment for more players to come invest in the power sector because more power supply means lower prices,” the senator stressed.
    He said investors would come in if the government will reduce value added tax (VAT) and royalties imposed on the power sector players.
    Cayetano said the government should show to the people that it is now powerless when it comes to solutions to the power rate hike.
    ”Another principle is that the government should not profit from the misery of our people,” he said.
    The lawmaker explained the government would still earn more if it will reduce VAT and royalty payments in the power industry “because more investors will come in.”
    He explained that if these investors will come in, the prices of electricity will reduce because of increased supply and if we have lower electricity, more investors in other sectors will also come in.
    Cayetano said a study showed that reducing VAT and natural gas royalties will result in P13.8 billion foregone revenue but would produce P62.35 additional annual gross domestic product (GDP).
    While he welcomed the congressional inquiries on power rate hike, Cayetano said “all these hearings should be result-oriented.”
    ”We should come up with concrete solution to solve power rate hike and government should play major role in finding solutions,” Cayetano said.
    He cited the country’s neighbors in Southeast Asia like Thailand and Malaysia that have been attracting more investors due to their lower cost of electricity.
    The Senate committee on energy over the weekend conducted public hearings which were focused on the reported conspiracy among power generators when they filed a petition at the Supreme Court seeking power rate increases.
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