Monday, December 16, 2013

Protests vs. Meralco rate hike spreads outside Manila as coordinated picketing staged

Press Release
December 16, 2013

The militant Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) staged a coordinated picketing of Meralco branches as protests against the huge power rate hike intensified at the grassroots level and spread outside Metro Manila. Meralco branches in Paranaque, Rizal and Cavite were picketed this morning and afternoon by several hundred workers and urban poor.

Also today, the PM spokesperson together with leaders of other groups formally asked for an anti-competition inquiry on Meralco’s rate hike. The request was filed with the Office for Competition which is under the DOJ and was created by E.O. 45 series of 2011.

“If competition exists in the power industry then business interests would collide but under EPIRA, the players collude,” stressed Wilson Fortaleza, PM spokesperson, as he joined the filing of the request for inquiry on unfair competition against Meralco and generation companies.

He added that “It is futile to pursue an honest scrutiny of Meralco’s huge rate hike through the ERC which is totally captured by monopolists in the power industry. Instead we hope the Office from Competition can give a fair hearing to the complaint. If PNoy is serious about investigating Meralco’s hike, then he can do something through the Office for Competition which is under his authority, unlike the ERC.”

At 10:00 am today, PM members trooped to the Meralco branch in Tambo, Paranaque and Antipolo City in Rizal. Later at 3:00 pm, other PM members in Cavite picketed branches in the towns of Rosario and Dasmarinas.

In the next few days, PM will continue the series of protests with pickets in Marilao, Bulacan and GMA, Cavite.

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