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House Joint Resolution 21 is Blatant Capitulation to the Whims and Caprices of Oligarchs in the Power Industry

Press Release
December 3, 2014

Profiteering at the expense of the already burdened Filipino consumers:

House Joint Resolution 21 is Blatant Capitulation
to the Whims and Caprices of Oligarchs in the Power Industry

DOZENS of militants from the Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) and other allied organizations staged a picket in front of Congress today to condemn the imminent passage of House Resolution 21, which will grant emergency powers to Pres. Noynoy Aquino in order to immediately address an alleged power shortage next year.

Hoax and Bogey

Leody de Guzman, BMP president said,  "The so-called pending crises in the country's power supply is a hoax contrived by the unholy alliance between the Energy Department, the Chief Executive and the oligarchs in the power industry".

"It is a bogey meant to force the public into accepting a seeming quick-fix that would bypass all safeguards against unjust profiteering in government transactions with private power producers", the labor leader added.

"Secretary Petilla of the Department of Energy (DOE) may have learned from Hitler's Goebbels in his monotonous warnings against a crisis in power supply, hoping that his lies may appear truthful as he untiringly repeats it like a broken record. Yet, his statements are refuted by a director from the DoE, who said before the House Committee on Energy, that we are only facing a shortage of 31MW in our reserves for the first two weeks of April," de Guzman expounded.

At the picket, the protesters carried placards that read: "Tutulan ang Emergency Power ni PNoy!", "Ibasura ang EPIRA!", "No to Coal-Fired Power Plants!".

Same Old, Same Old

The labor leader clarified, "The Philippines now has the highest electricity rate in Asia. Industrialists perennially complain against power costs as the primary deterrent to investments in the country".

"The economic cause of the problem is plain and obvious: the full privatization of the power industry. It is a sector that is not only primarily controlled and owned by oligarchs (Sy, Consunji, Aboitiz, Lopez, Ty, etc.). It is also characterized by 'regulatory capture', as government mechanisms for regulation are rendered inutile and ineffective by private capital. The legal basis of said problem is the passage of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) of 2001," he explained.  

De Guzman asked, "But what is the answer of the Noynoy administration to high power costs caused by privatization? Not the reversal, repeal, or amendment of the 13-year EPIRA scourge. He wants more privatization! Noynoy is even asking emergency powers for more, unbridled, and unchecked transactions with private power producers".

The BMP declared that "House Joint Resolution 21 is a blatant capitulation to the whims and caprices of oligarchs in the power industry. It is unjust and immoral profiteering at the expense of the already burdened Filipino consumers.

Suspension of Environmental Laws for Coal Power Plants

With House Resolution 21, all government agencies - from national to local government units - will be authorized to suspend laws and regulations that would restrict initiatives to increase the power supply.

The BMP fears the "emergency powers" may lead to a wholesale suspension of environmental laws to favor the construction of coal-fired power plants. De Guzman said, "The world is now rejecting coal as an energy source because it is patently harmful to the environment and to human health. It is also a major contributor to carbon emissions and global warming, which is linked to the occurrence of super typhoons such as Haiyan (Yolanda). Noynoy may not know it but he is courting a disaster of epic proportions".

Uninterrupted Profit for Mall Owners

Meanwhile, the BMP criticized the "convoluted logic of the Uninterrupted Load Program" (ULP) of House Joint Resolution 21.

De Guzman said, "With the ULP, government funds would be used to pay capitalists such as mall owners who would use their generators during peak hours. The proponents say that this incentive would ensure a steady power supply for ordinary consumers who get their electricity from an unburdened National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP). What convoluted logic this is! Public funds would be used entice the privileged few to use privately-owned utilities for private gain".

He averred, "Honestly, the ILP is nothing but an uninterrupted profit scheme for big capitalists, in particular, for mall owners. Who owns the malls and the NGCP? No other than Henry Sy - the richest man in the Philippines".

"When his mall complexes get their electricity directly the NGCP, he is merely transfering his profits from one pocket to another. When the shrewd Mister Sy would use his own generators, he is incurring a "cost". It is this expense that Noynoy and our crooked legislators want to be shouldered by the public through the ILP," he concluded. #

Das Kapital published on 14 Sept 1867

Das Kapital published on 14 Sept 1867

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