Church officials prod gov’t to lift EVAT

MANILA, June 9, 2008—A ranking official of the Catholic bishops’ leadership appealed to the government to put more effort to grapple spiraling oil and electricity rates in the country.

CBCP-Public Affairs Committee head Bishop Deogracias Iñiguez said the Energy Regulatory Commission should take absolute action on the growing challenge to advance the common good.

“They (ERC) have to put more extra efforts to help the people against the high electricity rates,” he said.

Iñiguez said he is certain the authorities know very well the main key to lower power bills of consumers if only they have the will to do it.

Senator Joker Arroyo over the weekend likewise asked the ERC to take serious moves to lower down electricity rates without solely depending on altering the Electric and Power Industry Reform Act.

The prelate also urged the government to consider the public clamor of repealing the oil deregulation law to somehow mitigate the effects of escalating global fuel prices.

“The government should instead regulate oil prices because it’s getting higher causing the public to suffer,” Iñiguez said.

Last week, Consumer and Oil Watch chairman Raul Conception warned that the global oil prices are still set to jack up.

The Church-based group Solidarity Philippines also stressed the need to at least reduce the expanded value added tax (EVAT) on oil and the power sector.

Solidarity Philippines convener Fr. Joe Dizon said it was unjust for the government to rake in billions in EVAT collections at the expense of consumers.

“Life is very hard now. The government should be the first to sacrifice. And EVAT is big burden for the people,” Dizon said. (CBCPNews)

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