“Buwis niyo, Bayad niyo!”
after protest against electric cooperatives' petition to pass on
real property tax
March 14, 2019
QUEZON CITY –
Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) suspended the jurisdictional
hearing of the petition submitted by Philippine Rural Electric
Cooperatives Association Inc. (Philreca) which seeks to pass on Real
Property Tax (RPT) charges to consumers. This is after opposition
from consumer and advocacy groups was expressed inside and outside
the ERC office.
Organizations behind the Malinis at Murang Kuryente (MMK) Campaign
rallied in front of the ERC, to urge the Commission to reject
proposal of Philreca to add the tax on real property to the monthly
bill of consumers nationwide. The petition follows the Supreme Court
ruling that transformers, electric posts, transmission lines,
insulators and electric meters are not exempted from RPT under the
local government units (LGUs).
“In previous years, consumers have always been one with ECs to be
recognized as tax-exempt just like any other cooperative, since they
are supposed to be people's enterprises owned by the consumers they
serve,” said Dr. Clint Pacana, Convenor of the Mindanao Coalition of
Power Consumers (MCPC), President of the Institute for Power Sector
Pacana explained that Philreca, in filing the petition, abandoned
consumer groups who are calling for the exemption of cooperatives
from paying for real property tax. “While the consumers fight it out
for their tax exemption, ECs want the easy way of passing on the
burden to their supposed owners – the unfortunate consumers. We hope
there is no collusion among local officials, ECs, and other
distribution utilities (DUs) for this,” Dr. Pacana continued.
"All property owners pay amilyar (real property taxes) on what they
own. Why do we also have to pay for what the coops own?”, Murang
Kuryente Partylist Nominee and MMK Convenor Gerry Arances. Murang
Kuryente Partylist filed a motion on behalf of its members and
consumers nationwide for the ERC to dismiss the petition.
“Already, electric consumers are bearing the brunt of many ECs’
violation of system loss caps, mismanagement of financial
liabilities, and the costly Power Supply Agreements (PSAs) with
dirty energy generation companies. Meanwhile, many ECs are guilty of
long and frequent interruptions in their respective franchises and
failure to electrify areas within them,” he continued.