SORSOGON CITY – Power consumption charges here and in six municipalities of Sorsogon province are now 12 percent lower owing to the exemption granted by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to the local electric cooperative from the Expanded Value Added Tax (EVAT).
The exemption which took effect last January according to Sorsogon Electric Cooperative (SORECO) II general manager Percival Alvarez on Wednesday is in connection with the BIR’s implementation of the provisions of Republic Act 9520 otherwise known as the Philippine Cooperative Code of 2008.
The Act provides for the exemption of electric cooperatives registered with the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) from collecting EVAT from their member-consumers.
Of the 119 electric cooperatives in the country, only 14 are CDA-registered and now enjoying the tax exemption to the relief of their member-consumers from paying higher electricity bills, Alvarez said.
Of the 12 electric cooperatives in Bicol, SORECO II is the only CDA-registered and now enjoying the EVAT exemption. SORECO I that covers the other half of the province remains unregistered with the CDA, he said.
The exemption, Alvarez said is a product of the long and grueling struggle for the privilege pursued by the Association of Philippine Electric Cooperative (APEC), the party list representative of the sector that sponsored and fought for the enactment of RA 9520 in the House of Representatives.
Although the law was enacted in 2008, its implementation had to wait for the change of leadership in the national government administration from the reign of former President and now Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to the present under President Benigno S. Aquino III, he said.
“The EVAT exemption is a very significant reduction to the power bills of local consumers given the fact that the prevailing rate being charged by the cooperative, to our regret, is one of the highest in the Luzon mainland even as Sorsogon is a key producer of geothermal energy,” he added. (PNA)