Enrile contends electricity charges could still be reduced

By Mario Casayuran

Electricity charges could still be decreased to unburden the weight of its economic impact upon the shoulders of the people, former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile said.

Enrile, who recently campaigned in Batangas for a fifth term in the Senate, stressed that high electricity rates have an adverse effect on the prices of basic needs of the people.

Former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile (FACEBOOK / MANILA BULLETIN)
Former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile (FACEBOOK / MANILA BULLETIN)

“Well, first of all, it puts a burden on the people. Second, it puts a lot of burden to the producers and businessmen, and it goes to the cost of food,” he said in an interview at the sidelines of his visit to Batangas City and Lipa City with Batangas Governor Hermilando “Dodo” Mandanas.

“Energy is the lifeblood of our economy. Without it, nothing moves. And the moment that item, that element, the price of that element goes up everything will go up. Energy affects power, transportation, fertilizers, cost of production, and all sectors and industries,” the four-term Senator said.

The former Senate Chief cited Batangas as a critical “piece of the energy puzzle” because of the presence of gas-powered plants in the province that presently supply 60 percent of the electricity requirement of Metro Manila and a quarter of the electricity demand of Luzon.

“In 2024, experts are predicting that the supply of natural gas from our Malampaya offshore wells will fall short of what is needed by the plants here in Batangas. That is a grave concern because we do not have any other source of hydrocarbon energy in the country,” Enrile warned.

“I will work on that. I also intend to revise the provisions that are causing unjust and unreasonable power rates for Filipinos,” Enrile said, citing that he hopes to continue the amendments he introduced to the Energy Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) which he single-handedly opposed in 2001.

In Batangas, Enrile also celebrated Tuesday the 75th birthday of Gov. Mandanas, who is likewise batting for a comeback to lead the provincial capitol.

“We are both running for our fifth terms. I am running for a fifth term in the Senate, and Gov. Dodo is running for a fifth term in Batangas. Both of us cannot graduate yet because there are still many problems in this country we plan to study and address,” Enrile fondly shared.

When asked about his campaign, the 95-year old candidate said, “I am going around the country, and I intend to match the young people campaigning in the elections.”