A HOUSE leader on Saturday sought the imposition of additional tax on electricity under the guise of promoting the “‹development energy resources.
Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Raymund Villafuerte is the author of “‹House Bill 4939, also known as the “Piso Para sa KalikasanAct,” which seeks to impose a climate or carbon tax on electricity—equivalent to P1 per one kilogram of CO2 emission—on the monthly electricity bills of residential or household consumers. “‹
“”‹My bill is meant to reduce our carbon emissions [and] is two-pronged: it aims to generate revenues for the development of green energy and, at the same time, protect and preserve the environment,” Villafuerte, member of the House committee on ways and means, said as he urged the House leadership to prioritize the passage of his HB 4939.
Citing a study conducted by the International Food Policy Research Institute, Villafuerte said reducing the Philippines’ import dependence on petroleum products through the imposition of a carbon tax plus subsidies for renewable energy sources”‹ could boost the share of renewable power by as much as 60 percent by 2040 and cut carbon dioxide emissions by up to 50 percent in the long term.
Under Villafuerte’s bill, consumers will be exempted from paying this proposed climate tax if their monthly consumption does not exceed 60 kilowatthours each or if the electricity they consume are generated from renewable energy sources.
Villafuerte said the swift congressional approval of HB 4739 would signal the global community of the country’s strong commitment to international climate policy and the Congress’ affirmation of the people’s right to a balanced and healthy ecology as well as the State’s paramount duty to safeguard such right for the present and future generations.
“An alternative power development”‹ strategy will boost the share of renewable energy sources to reduce the country’s carbon footprint,” said Villafuerte, vice chairperson of the House committee on appropriations.
Villafuerte’s proposed “climate” or carbon tax, as noted in his bill, is the first of its kind in the Philippines, and is meant to help the country meet its commitment under the Intended Nationally Determined Contribution to the United Nations to undertake measures that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 70 percent.
“‹The Philippines is “ground zero for climate disaster” and has been classified by the World Bank as one of the countries most vulnerable to natural disasters caused by climate change, Villafuerte noted.
“Abrupt climate change is not only imminent; it is here,” Villafuerte said.
“It is consequently necessary to make a significant contribution to the global effort to stabilize GHG concentrations in the atmosphere.”
Under HB 4739, collections from the proposed climate tax shall be used exclusively for programs that:
(1) assist communities in adapting to climate change and managing/reducing disaster risks;
(2) improve the resiliency of critical infrastructure;
(3) protect environmental quality and wildlife;
(4) meet international commitments made by the Philippines to assist with climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction and management; and
(5) help other programs and/or commitments related to the foregoing purposes and necessary to attain the objectives of this Act.
“The ‘Piso Para sa Kalikasan Act’ is important not only because it signals our country’s commitment to international climate policy but because it also sends the important message that our Philippine climate policy is serious and is here to stay,” Villafuerte said.
Villafuerte said the government could take advantage of the funds available from foreign institutions to help the country adapt to, and mitigate, the effects of, climate change.