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PIA Press Release

Negros Oriental lawmakers want EPIRA law amended

By Rachelle M. Nessia

Dumaguete City (29 October) -- The three district representatives in Negros Oriental are set on filing a bill to amend the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001 (EPIRA) which has cut down a big portion of the royalty share received by local government units (LGUs) hosting renewable energy generation.

Second District Rep. George P. Arnaiz disclosed that he along with First District Rep. Josie Limkaichong and Third District Rep. Henry Pryde Teves, will join forces with lawmakers from other provinces hosting renewable energy generation to file a bill that will seek to amend a provision in the EPIRA law removing the royalty share of LGUs in the country hosting geothermal plants.

Arnaiz admits that they will face a tough fit ahead in the Congress. "By now, I'm sure those who sponsored that provision will be fighting for it also because they want to protect whoever are the buyers of the geothermal plants," he stressed.

He, however, is confident that they will have a strong chance of passing the bill because there are no less than 15 members in the Congress representing provinces that are hosting geothermal plants.

The congressman expressed his worry that the removal of the royalty share will cause a conflict between the firm operating the geothermal plant and the residents in Valencia and the province.

Arnaiz said the royalty received by LGUs is provided for in the local government code.

He said that local residents are now used to receiving subsidies from the royalty tax to pay off their electric bills. "In the future, they might not receive these anymore, or if they do, it will maybe be very little," he added. (PIA/rmn) [top]

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