Solon airs concern over free lamps distribution

by Alvin Elchico, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 24 2012 05:19 PM | Updated as of Sep 25 2012 01:54 AM

MANILA, Philippines - A lawmaker has raised doubts over the government's program of giving out free compact flourescent lamps (CFL) to consumers.

AGHAM party-list Rep. Angelo Palmones said the timing of Department of Energy's free CFL program is bad since it coincided with the campaign season. He noted incumbents will have the advantage in the upcoming elections as their names will be associated with the distrbution of free lamps.

The DOE has started giving out 10,000 CFLs for each congressional district all over the country.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) asked for a million more CFLs for the poorest of the poor.

Palmones questioned the mode of distribution of the CFLs.

According to Palmones, electric cooperatives should have been used in giving out these CFLs. He also questioned the sustainability of the program, asking what happens if consumers revert back to the incandescent bulbs when the CFLs go bust.

On the other hand, Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone said the political advantage is not absolute as the limited number of CFLs allotted for each district is not enough for all constituents.

According to Evardone, the limited number may mean political doom for an incumbent congressman as many constituents may feel alienated if they do not receive CFLs.

Several congressmen have already started distributing CFLs to consumers over the weekend.

In a press conference last week, Energy Secretary Jose Rene Almendras said the timing just coincided with the upcoming campaign season, but the program has been there since 2010.

According to Almendras, the implementation was delayed.

The money used in purchasing 8.6 million CFLs comes from an Asian Development Bank loan amounting to $31 million or P1.3 billion.