More on your electric bill: The systems loss of 6.47 percent being publicized by Meralco is the average for all its customers. It is being tolerated by the ERC. The law says the limit should be 8.5 percent. Your consumer group Matuwid na Singil sa Kuryente Consumer Alliance, Inc., MSK, had filed a petition asking ERC to enforce the 8.5 percent for all customers, not average.
We believe the numbers also show that Meralco charges industrial customers lower for distribution, metering, and supply.
Being the same as Singapore in 30 percent of the user base is not good enough. Our economic rivals are Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam. And we are at a big disadvantage against them in the critical power production cost. Sadly, it does not need to be this way. Someone in the government especially the ERC just needs to move for the consumers.
When will that happen? We continue to hope. That's all we have for now.
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David Tan <email@example.com> writes to tell us that the MSK official website has a new post titled "Comparing Philippines Electricity Rates vs Asean - Just the Facts."
Summary of the post is as follows: Most Filipino consumers know that every month their electricity bills take a significant part of their budget. And he better pay up or his lights will be cut off.
Recently some reports are headlined that Philippine power rates are the same as Singapore, as if that should be a consolation [considering the buying power of the Singapore pay scale compared to the low buying power of the Philippine peso].
So let us just get to the facts. What is the truth?
In the industrial sector, the Philippines is the highest in Asean together with Singapore at P5.84 per kwh. Thailand is lower by 8 percent, P5.37; Malaysia by 19.35 percent, P4.71; Indonesia by an enviable 71.58 percent, P1.66 per kwh.
For commercial customers, the Philippine rate for 2015 was P7.49 per kwh. Singapore was 3 percent lower: P7.24. Thailand 38 percent, P5.07; Malaysia 32.36 percent, P4.64; and Indonesia by a whopping 71.30 percent lower, paying P2.13.
For residential customers, the Philippine rate is the highest at P8.90 per kwh. Singapore is lower by 18.32 percent, P6.69; Thailand by 38 percent, P5.52; Malaysia by 32.36 percent, P6.02; and Indonesia at 85.51 percent, P1.29 per kwh.
After medical tourism, SEARCA in Los Baños tells us that farm tourism will open up new perspectives for inclusive and sustainable agricultural and rural development (ISARD) and will revitalize the farm tourism sector as a sunrise industry in the Philippines and Southeast Asia.
Dr. Gil C. Saguiguit, Jr., director of the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA), said farm or agriculture tourism diversifies income for small farmers while promoting sustainable agricultural systems and community involvement.
He also disclosed that Sen. Cynthia Villar is pushing for the signing into law of the Farm Tourism Development Act. It effectively institutionalizes the Philippine government's farm tourism programs in helping raise farmers' incomes and increase players in the rural tourism industry.
SEARCA has a five-day exposure workshop on Farm Tourism Practices designed for different stakeholders to learn and adopt trends in farm tourism across Southeast Asia.
It received participants from Cambodia, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Timor Leste, and Vietnam – plus Taiwan represented by a resource person.
The workshop also showcases agriculture as a productive business endeavor and an exciting field of study among young people.
In a similar effort to boost agri tourism, the Southeast Asian AgriMuseum and Learning Center in Agricultural and Rural Development will, in the future, offer this farm tourism workshop, according to Saguiguit.
"These initiatives will place agriculture and the exciting prospects it has to offer centerstage. This is towards greater appreciation of agriculture not just for the youth in their career choices, but also for other important sectors and the general public," he said.
The workshop is in partnership with the Department of Tourism (DOT) and International School of Sustainable Tourism (ISST) which SEARCA has tapped as knowledge partners.
"These two institutions have been very busy making great progress in advancing farm tourism in the Philippines, along with partner agencies like the Agricultural Training Institute of the Department of Agriculture (DA-ATI), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), and Department of Trade and Industry, with the active engagement of farm tourism operators," said Saguiguit.
In 2012, SEARCA spearheaded the First Philippine National Agri tourism Research Conference that aimed to identify research gaps and policies that can help develop agri tourism in the country.
The exposure-workshop features presentations led by ISST President and former Tourism Secretary Dr. Mina T. Gabor, on global and regional trends in farm tourism; followed by presentations by experts from the University of the Philippines Los Baños, DOT, Maejo University in Chiang Mai, Thailand, Chung Hsing University in Taiwan, various leaders and chief executive officers in farm tourism practice in the Philippines and in Thailand, Central Bicol State University of Agriculture, and agriculture consultants.
The learning event is organized by SEARCA's Training Unit under its Knowledge Management Department, reported SEARCA Knowledge Management Head Maria Celeste H. Cadiz. (Growth Publishing for SEARCA. For further information, please contact 0929-715-8669, 0917-102-6734 (Growth Publishing for SEARCA).