11 March 2019
Labor Senate Bet: Review Privatized Water, Power
De Guzman bats for NG, LGU ownership of power and water resources
Partido Lakas ng Masa senate bet Leody de Guzman calls for the review of privatization and deregulation of the water and power industry following the spate of water shortages in Metro Manila cities and the announcement of yellow alert in Luzon grid. De Guzman says the review should lead to the reversal of corporate control of basic necessities.
“The disorderly manner the Manila Water is announcing water service interruptions, and the fact that announcements of pending El Niño were already made last year and no appropriate rationing measures were implemented, makes us seriously question the so-called competence of the private sector in the management of our public utilities,” De Guzman said.
He said that it is ironic that supporters of privatization schemes more than two decades ago lobbied for the sale of Manila Waterworks and Sewerage System as well as the National Power Corporation on the grounds of incompetence.
De Guzman also warned against power companies “who are seeking to reap super-profits from the expected decline of supply due to El Niño by pushing through unscheduled maintenance shutdowns”, adding that their manoeuvres may fall under “economic sabotage”.
“Mahirap magtiwala sa pribadong sektor para i-manage ang basic needs ng mga tao, lalo pa sa panahon ng El Nino. Masyadong kritikal ang sitwasyon para isugal natin sa mga kumpanyang palpak na at tubo ang kanilang motibasyon,” he said.
Repeal EPIRA, Revoke Water Concessionaires’ Franchise
De Guzman vowed to file a bill that will repeal the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001 or Republic Act 9136, and replace it with a law that allows national and local governments and state corporations to actively invest in the power sector, particularly in renewable energy.
The senate candidate also promised to revoke the franchise of Water Concessionaires via a “Department of Water” law that empowers local governments and metropolitan bodies to directly operate water services and “directly links centralized watershed management with water distribution”.
“Sa panahong wala nang garantiya ang supply ng tubig at kuryente, ang mga komunidad at hindi ang mga negosyante ang dapat magtatakda kung alin ang dapat laanan nito. Ito’y serbisyo, hindi dapat manatiling negosyo,” De Guzman said.
De Guzman said that given climate-induced uncertainties, “the private sector beholden to shareholders interests will always be tempted to artificially constrain supply or refuse to shift to better technologies in order to increase revenues or constrain cost.”
“Climate change should push us to rethink ways be provision our needs. Its about time that power and water resources be categorized by the government as a state obligation and basic necessity and must wrest control from private firms,” De Guzman concluded.###