JUNE 10, 2011
Ten years after the promised cheaper power rates through the EPIRA (Electric Power Industry Reform Act), consumers will again be jolted by another increase, this time in the generation charge. GABRIELA, a mass organization of women from across different sectors, pointed out that the impending increase announced by Meralco, will again add to the sufferings of Filipino families who have already sacrificed much of their budget to various price increases in the past months.
The militant women’s group took up the cudgels against the continuing power rates hike in behalf of its members and other women who continue to complain about the dwindling family budget. According to Lana Linaban, Secretary General of GABRIELA, women are “electrified” everytime they look at their electric bills each month, “The ballooning inflation rate had already made prices of basic commodities almost unreacheable. This round of increase, this time in utility rates will all the more pressure women to make both ends meet.”
Linaban also reiterated the assessment of GABRIELA that since 2001 when EPIRA was passed, consumers never really felt relief in power rates. “The promise of light at the end of the tunnel remained dim for families burdened by the high prices. Increases in various charges continue to shock consumers,” GABRIELA Secretary General Lana Linaban said.
The women’s group is lobbying for the repeal of the EPIRA and the removal of the VAT in basic commodities as well as utilities in Congress. Gabriela Women’s Party representatives in Congress have already set these proposition in motion at the Lower House.
GABRIELA vowed to continue to protest and find all means to help alleviate the burden of high prices for women. “We will take every opportunity to compel the Aquino government to act on the plight the burdened consumers. Especially with the coming anniversary of Pres. Aquino’s first year in Malacanang as well as his second SONA, women will prepare a grocery list of his debt to his women constituents and the first on this list is his failure to act to bring down prices of goods and utilities,” Linaban ended.
LANA LINABAN, Secretary General
Public Information Department
GABRIELA National Alliance of Women in the Philippines