Tuesday, September 21, 2004

NR0920: Napocor and power outages

Mula sa Tanggapan ni Anakpawis Rep. Crispin B. Beltran
News Release September 20, 2004
House of Representatives, South Wing Rm 602
931-6615 Ina Alleco R. Silverio, chief of staff
Email: paggawa@edsamail.com.ph, anakpawis2003@yahoo.com
Celphone number 09213907362
Visit geocities.com/ap_news

Rep. Beltran decries Malacanang, DoE threat of power outages in
2005 if Napocor rates are not hiked

Anakpawis Representative Crispin Beltran today slammed Malacanang and the
Department of Energy (DoE) anew for its current campaign to generate public
fear over a supposed looming power crisis to be characterized by massive
blackouts. Beltran said that The DoE through secretary Vince Perez was hyping
the threat to justify the imposition of higher electricity rates of the
National Power Corporation (Napocor). The DoE has recently released a report
that Luzon will start experiencing outages in 2008, while Visayas and Mindanao
in 2005. The DoE says that at least $6.5 billion in investments is needed to
meet escalating power demands.

"Sec. Perez is lying through his teeth. Upon orders of Malacanang and
pressure from foreign business monopolies eyeing the country's electricity
industry, the DoE is resorting to lies and exaggerated figures to justify
higher electricity rates and the privatization of the Napocor," he said.
"Perez is looking for the surest, fastest way to come up with funds with which
to pay off the debts of Napocor and convince investors that the debt-ridden
corporation is still financially viable. He is getting his pointers from the
American Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines (AmCham), and acting as their
spokersperson. It's clear that Perez is only parroting the AmCham."

The veteran labor leader turned lawmaker said that Perez is exaggerating the
possibility of power outages to twist the public's arm into paying higher
electricity rates. "Perez is blackmailing consumers that unless they pay
higher electricity rates, there'll be hell to pay and the country will be
plunged into darkness. It's impossible to find any sense or logic in Perez'
reasoning - he has resorted to scare tactics just to do Malacanang's bidding."

"There will be no power outages if the national government doesn't want to have
power outages. Make no mistake - the ones issuing the threats of blackouts are
the same ones who will be behind the outages."

Beltran said he does not buy Perez' explanations, and called for the immediate
recall of the energy secretary. "Perez' reasoning has become more and more
twisted. He's the fully-fledged spokesperson of foreign investors and the local
shareholders of Napocor.
Perez is crowing over the supposed confidence foreign investors have shown after
the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) approved Napocor's petition to raise its
rates by an average 98 centavos per kilowatt hour starting September 26. The
provisional authority granted Napocor represents a 40% increase from its
previous rates.

Beltran said that the public should not give in to Malacanang and the DoE's
blackmail. He said that if Pres. Arroyo and Perez want to pay ofdf Napocor's
debts, then they should do so out of their own pocket. "The Filipino people
will not be further bled to pay off Napocor's losses. The anomalies in the
electricity firm have victimized taxpayers and consumers terribly enough, and
there's no way that consumers will be convinced that the only way to stave off
power outages is to fork out more money for the firm," he said.

Beltran has already filed HR18 calling on Congress to intervene in the
national government's decision to absorb Napocor's P500 billion debt.

"From whatever angle, through all the financial jargon and economic legalese, it
becomes evident that the government is forcing consumers and taxpayers to
shoulder Napocor's debts other payments by having them pay higher electricity
rates. This is highly repugnant," he said.#


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