Tuesday, October 19, 2004

NR1019:GMA's EO absorbing NPC debts

Mula sa Tanggapan ni Anakpawis Rep. Crispin B. Beltran
News Release October 19 , 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

Solon scores PGMA's Executive Order 370 calling on Finance Department to
absorb P200B Napocor debts


Anakpawis Representative Crispin Beltran today decried what he termed as the
national government's inconsistency and hypocrisy in its manner and means of
dealing with the fiscal crisis.

Tuesday last week, October 12, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo issued
Executive Order 370 authorizing the Department of Finance to assume P200
billion of the National Power Corporation's (NAPOCOR) debts. Pres. Arroyo
approved the 'direct assumption by the national government of a portion of
financial obligations" of Napocor beginning December 31 in compliance with the
Electric Power Industry Reform (EPIRA). The DOF is now authorized to make the
necessary steps in transferring half the Napocor's P400 B debts to the
government.

"President Arroyo keeps exhorting everyone to scrimp and save, and has even told
Filipinos to make do with food coupons instead of demanding jobs and housing;
but now here we hear that the government is willing and even eager to absorb
P200 billion in debts! Where are the funds going to come from to pay off these
debts but from taxpayers? It's evident that all these austerity measures are
directed towards paying off debts the Filipino people did not benefit from -
debts that are highly anomalous and have even yet to be comprehensively
audited," said Beltran.

Beltran said that Pres. Arroyo's decision to have the government absorb
Napocor's debts is clearly influenced by the foreign investors in the power
sector and the IMF-WB and the Asian Development Bank (ADB). This, he said that
benefit transnational power players, including the local American Chamber of
Commerce.

"Napocor's privatization and the sale of the National Transmission Corporation
(TRANSCO) have hit snags because of the billions-worth of financial losses the
Napocor has accumulated through the years. Malacanang and its financial
advisers are crossing their fingers that by absorbing Napocor's debts, the
Napocor will become more sellable and attractive to investors," he said.

The veteran labor leader pointed out that the national government is not about
to change its target of achieving a balanced budget by 2009, but that it admits
that the key to achieving the target is Congressional approval of several
revenue measures estimated to raise some PhP50 billion for the government. The
funds, he said, will be partly utilized to pay off Napocor's debts.

"From whatever angle, through all the financial jargon and economic legalese, it
becomes evident that it is the consumers and taxpayers who will inevitably bear
the burden of additional taxes and other payments, just so the national
government can accumulate the necessary funds enough to pay off the NAPOCORS's
debts. This clearly makes the government's decision to absorb Napocor's PhP200
billion debts highly repugnant," he concluded.#


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