MANILA – Local government units (LGUs) have received PHP8.1 billion from hosting power plants of energy firms, Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Alfonso Cusi said on Thursday night.
In his report to President Rodrigo Duterte during the Talk to the People, Cusi said PHP3.5 billion of the proceeds were downloaded directly to the LGUs between April 2020 and end-July 2021.
This, as the DOE issued a department circular that allowed power generation companies to directly remit the proceeds to host LGUs for them to use the fund for their coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) response.
Under the Energy Regulations (ER) 1-94 of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001 (EPIRA), local communities hosting power projects shall receive 1 centavo per kilowatt-hour (kWh) from electricity sales of power generation firms.
Half of the proceeds from ER 1-94 shall be funded for electrification in the community, 25 percent for development and livelihood funds, and 25 percent for reforestation, watershed management, health, and/or enhancement fund of the host LGU.
Another PHP4.6 billion proceeds were also transferred to the LGUs through the DOE from September 2019 to end-July this year, Cusi added.
“The repurposed ER 1-94 funds were used by LGUs to purchase relief goods and medical supplies, of testing kits, and the establishment of Covid-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) testing labs,” Cusi said.
He cited that Barangay Navotas in Balayan, Batangas as well as the community of Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur were able to put up their first isolation center for Covid-19 patients using ER 1-94 fund.
Cusi added that the DOE, its attached agencies, and other energy stakeholders were able to remit PHP13 billion to the national and local government by reallocating its budget and discontinuance of programs, activities, and projects to fund the administration’s programs to fight Covid-19. (PNA)