Zarate to Cusi: Focus on lowering MERALCO, fuel prices


Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate urged Energy Sec. Alfonso Cusi to find ways to lower the prices of electricity and petroleum products in the country instead of politicking.

Zarate made the statement as oil firms announced another round of price increases set for Tuesday and in the wake of the Manila Electric Company’s (MERALCO) recent rate increase triggered by last month’s Red Alerts and rotational brownouts.

Gasoline prices have been raised by Php1.15 per liter, while diesel went up by Php0.60/l. The power giant, for its part, raised electricity rates for July by Php0.2353 per kilowatt-hour.

Zarate particularly asked what the Department of Energy’s (DOE) plans are to mitigate the price hikes. He added that if Cusi plans to prioritize politics, he should resign first from heading the DOE and give the job to someone who can lower energy rates.

Cusi is the vice chairman of PDP-Laban, Pres. Rodrigo Duterte’s political party. He was expelled last week by the camp of party president Sen. Manny Pacquiao amid allegations of corruption in the DOE.

Pacquiao, who is said to have plans to run for President, accused the DOE of entering into an anomalous deal with the Independent Electricity Market Operator of the Philippines, the operator of the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market. Cusi, on the other hand, has advocated the daughter-father tandem of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte and the President to run respectively for the two highest posts in next year’s elections.

Bayan Muna members staged a protest on Monday in front of MERALCO’s Kamuning business center in Quezon City.