Thursday, December 19, 2013

Militants slam Serge Osmena for “no collusion” statement

Press Release
December 19, 2013

The militant Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) today slammed Sen. Serge Osmena for pre-empting the probes by the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) of the huge power rate hike with his statement yesterday that there is no collusion among generation companies and Meralco. The two departments are precisely looking into allegations of collusion.

“Serge is a consistent supporter of power industry players since his sponsorship of the EPIRA Law which ushered in the era of high electricity rates to his defense of Meralco’s gargantuan rate hike,” opined Wilson Fortaleza, PM spokesperson.

Fortaleza is one of the signatories to the complaint against Meralco and generation companies lodged by groups last Monday with the DOJ Office for Competition. DOJ Secretary Leila de Lima pledged to come up with a finding by January next year.

Meanwhile PM continued its campaign of picketing Meralco branches. Yesterday its Cavite chapter protested at the Meralco branch and depot in Dasmarinas City. Tomorrow, PM members will picket the Meralco branch in Marilao, Bulacan. Last Monday PM staged a coordinated picket of branches in Paranaque, Rizal and Cavite.

“Serge’s statement is a mere opinion and not even a conclusion after an investigation. At the Senate hearing, even as senators grilled officials of the Energy Regulatory Commission and the DOE, they handled with kid gloves representatives of Meralco and the generation companies. As to why, it may be necessary to look into election campaign contributions by power industry players,” Fortaleza averred.

PM asserts that the Meralco price increase is unconscionable since it is an act of economic terror amid calamities, inequality and poverty in the country. Fortaleza argued that “It is also unfair. Workers in NCR were only granted P10 per day or P260 per month under Wage Order No. 18. The P4.15/kwh total increase in Meralco’s rate is an additional P830 burden for households consuming 200 kwh per month.”

“The worker-led consumer campaign against collusion by Meralco and the generation companies to drive electricity prices will continue and intensify next year. Consumers anger will boil over when they get their next electricity bills,” Fortaleza predicted.

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