MANILA - Philippine leader Gloria Arroyo said she considers the latest reduction in power rates as a classic example of the country's economic gains flowing down to the people.
In a roundtable discussion Wednesday in Malacanang, the President said the people are finally harvesting the seeds of fiscal discipline and good governance that the government has planted.
"The cut in power rates is part of the great story of economic gains flowing down to the people.
This is a timely harvest on the seeds of fiscal discipline and good governance that we have planted in the field of optimism and hope," she said in a statement.
The President pointed out that this is a clear and compelling reason for all Filipinos to stay the course and not be distracted "by the pullback of destructive politics."
Housewife Cora Gloria, a mother of three, who was among those in the roundtable discussion, told the President that her power rate bill was lower this month (February) compared to last month.
"Itong huling perfect power adjustments, pag mababa ang langis at dolyar bumaba rin iyong tsini-charge, doon nagre-reflect na bumababa ang electric bill, so nararanasan talaga. Lalo na ngayon na itong Napocor ay binabawasan iyong tsini-charge sa Meralco," the President explained.
The President told Gloria that through her village, she could seek micro-finance assistance for her to open up a small business.
Gloria, for her part, thanked the President for launching the "Pamilihang Bayan" and "Botika ng Bayan" where she could buy cheaper products and medicines.
Energy Regulatory Commission chairman Rodolfo Albano, Jr. said that the National Power Corporation (Napocor) power rate reduction by eight centavos per kilowatt-hour (kwh) will apply to the Feb. 26 to March 25, 2007 billing period. The reduction, he said, could go up by 18 centavos in the next 10 months.
Energy Secretary Raphael Lotilla said all payments made by Napocor for the importation of oil had been reduced due to the stronger peso.
Lotilla informed the President that the official contract price of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) in Singapore will be reduced by one percent by next month. Kerosene prices, he added, had also been reduced by 30 centavos two days ago.
Consumer and Oil Price Watch chairman Raul Concepcion said the power rate reduction would have significant effect on consumers but extended his appeal to the banks to consider lowering their rates, too.
The President said she is considering the establishment of a credit bureau because the micro-finance system requires no collateral and is becoming very attractive because of its lower interest rates.
She said that while her detractors continue to scrape the bottom of the barrel for old, worn out issues, her administration is concerned with the issue of a modern Philippines fighting for the people and lifting them from poverty.
"I call on all Filipinos to bury past complaints and join the bandwagon of the economy," she said. "This is our only time to break free from the drag of past complaints and move forward. Let us not waste time but use it to grab every opportunity to advance, prevail over our conflicts and doubts and win the future."