Malacañang resurrects Arroyo-era program

Published by rudy Date posted on April 1, 2011

THE Energy Department on Thursday said it will more strictly enforce the energy conservation measures set in place by the previous administration to cut power and fuel consumption in government agencies by 10 percent.

“The current global energy situation makes it more imperative for government to lead in managing energy use to demonstrate its commitment to effect [a] significant reduction in energy expenditures,” the department said in a statement Thursday.

Earlier this month, Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. urged government agencies to put power conservation measures in place, and to cut fuel consumption in the wake of rising petroleum prices brought on by the political upheaval in the oil-producing countries in the Middle East and North Africa.

Ochoa said this was in line with the Government Energy Management Program that was put in place in by the Arroyo administration in 2008.

That was the year when President Gloria Arroyo ordered all government agencies to cut by 10 percent the volume of fuel they were using for transportation as oil prices soared.

She also ordered other energy conservation measures, including the use of power-saving fluorescent bulbs in government offices, the conversion of 20 percent of government vehicles to run on cooking gas, and a reduction in the operating hours of air conditioners in public offices.

President Benigno Aquino III said he had set aside P500 million for a one-month fuel subsidy for public utility vehicles amid the spiraling prices of oil and petroleum products.

Mr. Aquino said jeepney and tricycle operators with valid franchises from the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board would be given “fuel assistance smart cards.”

He said the discount might also be extended to buses in lieu of another round of fare hikes.

Energy Secretary Rene Almendras had earlier said the smart cards would contain credits of P1,050 for jeepneys, P1,200 for buses, and P180 for tricycles.

The Energy Department estimates there are 214,596 jeepneys, 27,886 buses, 6,648 mini-buses, and about a million tricycles nationwide.

Mr. Aquino said he had ordered an inventory of how many of those vehicles had valid franchises.

Funding for the discount will come from government savings while Land Bank of the Philippines will produce the smart cards, the President said.

The fuel discount will be reviewed after a month, he said. –Joyce Pangco Pañares, Manila Standard Today

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