Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Walking papers not extra powers for Reyes and the Arroyo administration

03 March 2010

The labor party-list group Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) sees no need for an emergency powers for the Arroyo administration to address the unfolding power crisis.

It looks rather for an emergency exit for energy Chief Angelo Reyes and the Arroyo administration for failing to solve the power problems during the past 10 years.

“Aren’t walking papers for quick exits more appropriate than handing extra powers to the failed rule of Reyes and his boss in Malacanang,” asked the party-list group.

According to PM Chair Renato Magtubo, the Arroyo administration had almost ten years since the passage of the Electric Power Reform Act in 2001 to ensure not only the affordability of rates but also the reliability of power supply in the country.

“Why ask for another emergency power now when Mrs. Arroyo had EPIRA to solve these chronic problems during the last ten years,” lamented Magtubo.

EPIRA was enacted six months after Mrs. Arroyo assumed the Presidency in 2001. EPIRA’s implementation should have reduced the power rates and secured our future energy supply.

Unfortunately after 10 years, electricity rates doubled hence the Philippines still has one of the most expensive electricity in the world while threat of another major power crisis is already in the offing.

“Before asking for an emergency power, Mrs. Arroyo should have first declared EPIRA as a failure so that all stakeholders, especially the hapless consumers, can work out for a new energy framework that can solve the chronic problems in the power industry,” asserted Magtubo.

This new framework, Magtubo explained, would entail a central role of the State (specifically planning and financing) and our communities in providing our people universal access to an affordable, clean and sustainable power.

The labor leader who served as party-list representative in Congress was the one led the expose of the payola scam that attended the passage of the Omnibus Power Bill in the lower House in 2001.

The labor group maintains that the power industry, because of the nature of its function in the country’s economic life, should not have been relegated to the private sector.

“Look at what is happening right now. Obviously the government did not foresee it coming -- that Reyes and the DoE did nothing to prepare for it because they had these assumptions that under the EPIRA, the private sector would make the system efficient and secure our energy future,” stressed Magtubo.

PM is calling for the scrapping of EPIRA and the reversal of privatization and deregulation policies accompanying it forms part of the party’s electoral platforms.

The party-list group likewise called on the voters to reject all candidates that maintain adherence to such policies whether they are in the administration or in the opposition tickets.

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