“This goes to show that the Aquino government has no program for the poor. It is all for increasing prices of everything — from gasoline to power rates.”
By JANESS ANN J. ELLAO
MANILA — Residents of urban poor community in North Triangle held a “lights off” protest against the impending increase in electricity rates.
“This is an added burden to the already dire conditions of the urban poor. The attacks are coming from almost everywhere. We may possibly lose our homes and livelihoods to demolition. The power rate hike is just the same repulsive attack against us,” Estrelieta Bagasbas of urban poor group Kadamay told Bulatlat.com.
Tuesday, Jan. 21 is the schedule of the oral arguments at the Supreme Court regarding the petition for a permanent injunction of the power rate hike being imposed by electric company Meralco. The high court issued a 60-day temporary restraining order on the proposed power rate hike last December 2013.
Power rates were supposed to increase by P4.15 per kilowatt hour.
Bagasbas, a resident of North Triangle, said this was an attack against the poor because families could hardly cough up money for their daily needs.
During the “lights off” protest, residents turned off their lights at around 7:00 p.m. on Jan. 21 in solidarity with progressive groups in calling on the Aquino administration to not allow such increase in power rates.
Joy Badiola, a vendor, was among the residents who participated in the lights off protest. He said that it is his small way to show solidarity to his neighbors who were holding a protest action along Agham Road in Quezon City.
Badiola said that he, too, was hoping that no increase in power rates would be implemented. His small store, he added, was no longer doing good business because of the decreasing residents in their area due to the demolition. An increase in power rates would be an added cost that his meager earning would need to shoulder.
Aside from North Triangle, urban poor communities in Payatas, Quezon City and in Camarin, Caloocan City also held a protest action against the impending power rate hike.
Kadamay national president Gloria Arellano said, “This is supposed to be a basic social service to the people. But the government failed to provide it to us. Now, it is the capitalists who are benefiting.”