LGUs to get fair share of power sector taxes—Abad

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Local governments that host power facilities will receive a total of P767.2 million as part of their 40-percent share in energy revenue collections in 2011, according to the Department of Budget and Management.

The release of this allocation comes amid growing concern, especially in Mindanao, of rising power costs in the face of a shortage of supply.

Budget Secretary Florencio B. Abad said in a statement the funds should help local government units lower the cost of electricity in their areas, particularly during summer when consumption is high.

The Local Government Code mandates that at least 80 percent of LGUs’ share on tax revenues from the development and use of hydroelectric, geothermal and other sources of energy shall be used “solely to lower the cost of electricity” where such facilities are located.

Abad said the fund that the DBM has released came from taxes collected from coal, petroleum, geothermal and hydrothermal power operations last year.

He said the disbursement was charged against the P2.45 billion allocated as LGUs’ share in power taxes.

This fund release “will not only allow LGUs to fulfill their role in implementing critical programs and projects in their own communities, it will also give local governments enough legroom to lower the cost of electricity across their localities,” Abad said.

“This is particularly timely, given that energy usage tends to spike during the summer,” he added.

Of the total amount, P646 million was released to LGUs in the Westen Visayas region while P57.7 billion went to those in the Mimaropa region.

Also, P49 million was earmarked for Eastern Visayas, P7.5 million for Socsargen, and P5.1 million for Central Visayas.

Further, the Bicol region will get P738,000; Zamboanga Peninsula, P453,000; Northern Mindanao, P242,000; and Caraga, P209,000.

“The Aquino administration is committed to seeking viable solutions for energy issues in the country,” Abad said.

“We trust that this release will empower our LGUs and allow them to manage electricity costs in their assigned localities, and bring direct, immediate and sustainable benefits to the communities they serve,” he added.—Ronnel W. Domingo

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