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Oil, power subsidies tablado sa NEDA chief

MANILA, Philippines – HINDI masigasig si National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Secretary Arsenio Balisacan sa pagbibigay ng subsidiya para sa langis at elektrisidad dahil tanging ang mga mayayaman lamang ang makikinabang nito.

Ang mga mayayaman aniya kasi ang “biggest consumers” ng mga nasabing utility.

Sinabi pa Balisacan na “The government would rather give direct subsidies to the vulnerable sectors, as the experience with the Oil Price Stabilization Fund (OPSF), under which firms contributed when oil prices were low and drew from it when prices were high, leading to a budget deficit.”

“We have been there before. I think our approach is not to subsidize oil generally but what we can subsidize (is the) vulnerable sector,” aniya pa rin.

“I think we should avoid subsidizing power, electricity, fuels generally, because the biggest consumers of fuels, for example, are the rich. The biggest consumers of electricity are the rich, so if you subsidize those, who benefits?” dagdag na wika nito.

Nauna rito, sinabi kasi San Miguel Corp. (SMC) president at chief executive officer Ramon Ang na ang fuel at power prices sa Pilipinas ay nananatiling mataas kumpara sa kalapit-bansa nito habang ng ibang bansa ay nagbibigay ng subsidiya.

“If you look at it on an equal basis, our prices without the subsidy and without taxes, is even lower than Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand. It’s also the same as power. Our power generation compared to our neighboring countries are lower but we impose taxes on the power sector and fuel and we also don’t give subsidy on power that’s why our power prices are higher,” ayon kay Ang.

Sinabi ni Balisacan na nagbibigay na ang pamahalaan ng ‘targeted subsidies’ na magiging maayos lamang kapag naipatupad na ang digitalization program nito na naglalayong magbigay ng national identification card para sa mga Filipino.

“We should be able to perfect targeting. ‘Yung tina-target natin na matulungan, ‘yan talaga ang matutulungan, but we can save a lot of fiscal resources and avoid potentially serious problems like fiscal crises as what happened in the past when you have oil price stabilization fund,”aniya pa rin. Kris Jose