May 01, 2012
Increase wages, not power charges – Bayan
The progressive group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) in Southern Mindanao Region urged on labor day the Aquino government to stop the National Power Corporation (NPC) from further increasing the already high power rates, which have been surveyed as the highest in Asia, and to increase instead, the wages for the workers, which have been recorded as one of the lowest in Asia.
This was the response of the progressive group after the state-run National Power Corp. was allowed by Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to raise its generation charge in Luzon by 69.04 centavos per kilowatt-hour (kWh), Visayas by 60.60 centavos per kWh and Mindanao, by 4.42 centavos per kWh this month of May.
“Davao Light and Power Company (DLPC) is imposing a residential electricity rate of P7.53 per kWh. Based on computation, households consuming up to 100 kWh a month will pay P757.42, 1,514.84 for 200 kWh and P2,272.26 for 300 kWh which will reflect on our next electricity bills. This will further increase rates in Davao region, which the survey of Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) had already described last March 2011 as twice expensive than the rates in major cities of Asia such as Seoul and Beijing, which have both P3.09 per kWh based on foreign exchange rate average,” said BAYAN-SMR spokesperson Sheena Duazo.
“The government is fast when it comes to approving the increase in electricity rates, but very slow when it comes to giving P125 across-the-board wage increase for the workers who have been calling for it as a form of economic relief from soaring prices and rates, hunger, and poverty,” Duazo said.
“For every centavo increase per kilowatt hour, ordinary workers and employees will bear the brunt of corresponding cut in their budget for food, water, shelter, clothing, fare, health, education, and other basic necessities. Instead of giving good news to the workers this Labor Day, the Aquino government is bringing bad news by imposing additional electricity charges and a pittance P8 wage hike which can’t buy a sardine and noodle’, she added.
Various progressive groups under the umbrella of BAYAN-SMR are joining today’s protest march led by Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU). Other than the push for P125 wage hike, the groups will also highlight the opposition to rising costs of electricity and the call to repeal the Republic Act 9136 or Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA), which is the main culprit of the power woes in Mindanao. (Bagong Alyansang Makabayan-Southern Mindanao Region)