Tag Archives: Debt

[Statement] FDC to the World Bank: Get Out of Dirty Energy and Pay Up Your Climate Debt!

FDC to the World Bank:
Get Out of Dirty Energy and Pay Up Your Climate Debt!

Photo by FDC

Photo by FDC

With the world being witness to and victim of extreme events caused by sudden weather changes, countries, institutions and peoples are challenged to drastically reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to avoid the two-degree Celsius global warming danger threshold. The World Bank Group, however, remains hideously immersed in the dirty energy business. Worse, it has turned deaf to demands for restitution for damages from its continued financing of fossil fuel and hydropower projects while feigning concern for climate change and taking charge of global funds for adaptation and mitigation in developing countries.


This year, the World Bank Group has already approved 11 hydroelectric power projects in several countries across the globe. As of September 2014, it has 78 active projects with six more in the pipeline. In addition, its energy portfolio by 2012 has seen a US$700 million increase from the previous year of its financing for upstream oil, gas and coal. In the Philippines, three coal-fired power plants in Zambales, Quezon and Pangasinan have been funded by the Group through its private sector investment arm, the International Finance Corporation (IFC).

Misleadingly grouped under the Bank’s renewable, “clean” energy portfolio, hydroelectric dams have long been exposed by the scientific community, including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), as producers of significant amounts of carbon dioxide and methane. Fossil fuels, especially coal, are already widely known as major sources of GHGs.

Yet, despite its track record in supporting dirty energy, the World Bank has unabashedly wiggled its way to becoming the interim trustee for the Green Climate Fund (GCF) established by the United Nations. Originally intended to assist developing countries to cope with the changing climate, the GCF is now being looked at suspiciously by climate activists as the character, management and structure of the fund is being manipulated to mirror the World Bank’s own system and its market-driven, private sector-led propensity.

Further aggravating this situation is the recent redrafting of the World Bank’s Environmental and Social Safeguards Framework which reveals the watering down of policies and mechanisms to protect human rights and natural resources. Accordingly, the 2014 draft provides more latitude, even legal immunity, to the World Bank so as to escape accountability for the harmful impact of its projects.

The World Bank Group’s hypocrisy has to stop now! People must reclaim power over energy systems and promote alternative ones that do not compromise the well-being and even the existence of people and planet. The Fifth Assessment Report of the IPCC has painted a grim scenario: global surface temperature is increasing and may surpass in 20 to 30 years the two-degree Celsius threshold if demands for deep and drastic cuts in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from human activities remain unheeded or merely placated. It recommends cuts in current anthropogenic GHG emissions by 40 to 70 percent from 2010 to 2050 towards zero or below by 2100.

With global warming averaging at almost 1°C from 1880 to 2012, the world has already seen and experienced the wastage of lives and livelihoods by extreme weather events. The most recent large-scale devastation happened right here in the Philippines almost a year ago when Typhoon Yolanda victimized more than 16 million people in the Visayas region. No matter how tragic the situation in areas wrecked by Yolanda, the World Bank even saw this as an opportunity to lead the Philippines almost a billion dollars deeper into debt while the country struggles to recover from the effects of global warming that the World Bank has helped to produce.

10 October 2014

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[Event] July 10: Biblico-Theological Forum on Debt -FCAID

July 10: Biblico-Theological Forum on Debt

Dear faith-based partners,

It will be exactly two weeks from now before the July 10 Biblico-Theological Forum on Debt. We do hope that you can spend your one day with us to learn the faith-based perspectives on debt so we can be united and mobilized effectively as moral shepherds of the people in their everyday journey through life amidst poverty.

For confirmation, please email back or fax to us the registration slip together with an attached sheet of paper with the names of your delegation if more than one on or before July 6. See program below for more details. Salamat.


Faith-based Congress Against Immoral Debts (FCAID)

In partnership with the
Loyola School of Theology (LST) and the
Inter-Congregational Theological Center (ICTC)

You’re Seminary/Convent, Theology School/Department is invited to the
Biblico-Theological Forum on Debt
July 10 (Tues), Cardinal Sin Ctr., LG/F LST, Ateneo de Manila, Loyola Hts., Q.C.

Objectives: 1) Understand the Biblical and Theological perspectives on the debt; 2) Gather Theological reflections and materials on debt and use them in guiding the faith-based people into action an in performing their duties as moral guides to the people who directs the path of the country towards a sovereign society. This means a country that can dictate its own economy, the kind of development it wants to pursue, where it spends its money (more to the people than debt service) independent from the loan pushing and conditionalities of international financial institutions (IFIs).

Registration Fee: Php70.00/hd
Slots Available per organization: 5-10
Slots Available per theology school: 20

For inquiries: Contact Jofti (09088945174) / Ador (09328726166)

Registration Form (submit on/before July 6 at fcaid@yahoo.com / 924-6399 so we can prepare kits and food)

Name of Attendee (individual/organization): _________________________________________________________

No. of attendees from your org/school: _____________ (please attach a separate sheet of paper for their names)

Contact Details: ___________________________ (landline/fax/cell #) ______________________ (email address)

All submissions are republished and redistributed in the same way that it was originally published online and sent to us. We may edit submission in a way that does not alter or change the original material.

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.

[Event] Tayo ng dumalo sa Talakayang Reporma ng Bayan, 28 Marso 2012, 8am – 6pm

Tayo ng dumalo sa Talakayang Reporma ng Bayan, 28 Marso 2012, 8am – 6pm
by Faith-based Congress
March 25, 2012


  • Pabahay at Hanapbuhay para sa Mamamayan!
  • Lupang Ninuno para sa Katutubo!
  • Kayamanang Dagat para sa Mangingisda!
  • Tunay na Repormang Agraryo para sa Magbubukid!
  • Tamang Pasahod at Seguridad sa Hanapbahay para sa Manggagawa! Itigil ang Kontraktuwalisasyon!

K99 People’s Reform Agenda
Dumalo sa Talakayang Reporma ng Bayan, 28 Marso 2012, 8am – 6pm
Association of Marine Officers’ and Seamen’s Union of the Philippines (AMOSUP)
Sta. Potencia St., corner Cabildo St. Intramuros, Manila

[Featured Site] Faithbased Congress Against Immoral Debt, http://fcaid.ph


The FCAID network is a joint project by the Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC) and its faith-based members and partners (KKK, AMRSP, JPICC-AMRSP and ISACC). Although it has its own processes and decision-making powers, FCAID works very closely with FDC.

The FCAID is a very loose network of organizations and individuals who are interested, passionate and dedicated to the debt advocacy. There is no need for a formal membership. To become a part of the network, the organization or individual will have to simply be a participant in any of the network’s initiatives (training, lobbying, creative or mass actions). In return, the partner will regularly receive updates and be invited to FCAID’s activities.

The network will also be on the look-out for those interested, have the skills and resources to help in the advocacy, an advance campaign training on the debt issue will be designed to prepare them as debt advocates/volunteers.

File photo source immoraldebts.wordpress.com

Immorality of Debt

Originally, incurring debt or even debt service is not considered innately bad or even forbidden. In fact, debt can be used by a country’s government as a tool for development when used appropriately. However, debt becomes immoral when it results to: 1) greed; 2) conflict, war and division; 4) slavery/burden; 5) abuse and fraud; and, 6) the use of unequal power relations.
The Faith-based Perspectives on the Debt

The Christian Perspective

1.“Wealth exists to be shared.” Ideally, there shall be no debts and no one asking money/resources from others or even lending money/resources to others because wealth is made by God for all people to share and benefit from.

2.Purpose and the Proper Use of Debts. In reality, incurring debts are inevitable. However to base it on moral standards, debts should only be used as a development tool. As assistance for those who will:

-Use debts in productive endeavors (e.g. business, something that will earn one a living) and therefore can be charged a minimal “interest” fee.

-Use debts for basic social purposes such as hospital bills, medicine expenses, education funds (tuition fees), food, agricultural expenses for small farmers and calamity funds, etc. for which interest cannot be charged from the borrower because the reasons for incurring it is survival.

However, these points raise the question: Does interest (rate) really help the borrower or is it mainly to generate profit for the lender?

The nature of assistance should be within the context of “genuine” help for people who are in need and it is only during times when money is used for progress or expanding of business can it be charged interest. But even that, the requirement should only be “minimal profit/interest” not USURIOUS interest. “Charging usurious interest rates is immoral!”

3.Third Party Debts or Institutional Debts. It is a fact that the National Government is mandated by law to represent the Philippines in agreements, negotiations and other official business transaction it enters into including those of loans. In simpler terms, the Government lends/pays money on behalf and using the name and money of the Filipino people. This fact may ONLY be acceptable, if in reality, projects to be financed by these loans genuinely improved peoples’ lives and welfare and if funds from the loans are to be used responsibly and without abuse of the Philippine laws and processes.

However through the course of time and experience, people have become silent witnesses to controversies and scandals, which involved large sums of money used for bribery and corruption and to finance projects that harmed the people and damaged the environment. Many of the projects advanced by the government were one-sided agreements in favor of a few (the elite or the country/bank where the loans were contracted). Most projects, if not all, were not well-thought out, unviable with no feasibility studies and other evaluative studies ever conducted by either or both of the contracting parties. Lastly, the people and communities were neither participant to the project process nor consulted.

To challenge those in doubt, name at least one loan agreement that is free from all irregularities.

4.Debt as Social/Structural Sin. The debt cycle has become a merciless entrapment to Juan de la Cruz. It burdens and buries him deeper into poverty.

Social/structural sin is the accumulation and concentration of many personal sins. Examples of which that are known to society are apartheid, racism, patriarchy, slavery, and others.

Debt, like the other recognized structural sins (i.e. patriarchy, racism, apartheid, slavery) is equal if not exceeds the gravity of these sins and these build a system that can trap a nation.

Injustices that were caused by debts entered into by the government recur and the level of gravity increases every time it is committed, thus, the debt trap. If the government does not do anything to free itself from the trap, then this becomes a vicious cycle.

5.Debt as a tool of the powerful. Fact is, “unequal power relations” do exist (the North and South Concept). The concept is based on a perspective which explains how north countries have exploited the natural resources of south countries to make them richer and powerful and how south countries have become sweatshops of north countries. The flight of resources from the south to the north countries has made the former, vulnerable and dependent. Depleted of their own resources, the south countries have no more means to spur their own development. These unequal power relations have created a very unfair position for the south countries.

It should be understood from these unjust practices that the debts claimed by the north countries from the south countries have already been paid for many times over, thus, maintaining the position that south countries do not owe anything to the north countries. In fact, the north countries should unilaterally cancel all the debts of the south countries and should even repay the south the amount equivalent to the natural and human resources that they have exploited and even more as reparations for the damage they have caused over hundreds of years. Thus calls such as, “Don’t owe, won’t pay!” and ”We don’t owe you but you owe us!

The Islamic Perspective

Papers/Materials discussing Islam and Debt are available for download. However, FCAID will be developing this perspective with Islamic groups/institute soon.

To know more about FCAID, please visit:



[Event] Training on the Immorality of Debt – FCAID

The Faith-based Against Immoral Debts (FCAID) is a three-year old network of faith-based groups and individuals who envisions a debt burden-free society. Currently, it is on its second phase with the project, “Walking with the Poor: the faith-based sector as a voice of the voiceless for the country’s liberation from immoral debts.”

Debt is an issue that has been the root cause of worsening poverty and as a result brings about crises. For some, debt should be left within the realm of economic planners and managers. However for FCAID, debt is not simply a question of economics but more so an ethical and moral one. Therefore, debt is within the realm of the faith-based to address. It talks about not only forgiveness and charity but justice. Dependence on borrowings can impede a nation’s well-being and spiritual life.

In fact, it is an issue recognized in the Old Testament of the Holy Bible. Debt in Scripture is mentioned mostly in contexts where the poor get indebted and are rendered vulnerable to lender abuse. It is assumed that there will always be poor in the land who, because of various misfortunes, are driven to seek relief in loans, subjecting them to exploitation and eventually, in extreme cases, slavery.

Debt as a priority of the faith-based community has taken a backseat for quite sometime now despite its importance. If the community is really serious about addressing poverty, then it is time to answer the hard questions, choose to side with the people and not maintain the status quo. Respond to the root cause of the problem, understand the issue, speak and advocate about the debt. As a network, we believe that the influential voice of the faith-based community is needed more than ever to amplify the voice of the poor, marginalized and affected communities, provide an alternative faith-based analysis and speak-up on the issue.

With that belief, the network developed a training module on the Immorality of Debt and used it for developing possible advocates.

However, we need more advocates who are willing to spend time and effort in working on the campaign and convincing others to join the cause so that the community can be a formidable voice on the issue.

The concept of immoral debts was specifically developed for the faith-based community to understand the relationship between debt and the possible harm it can do to people once governments become dependent on it.

For this specific training, we invite individuals who preferably came from the faith-based community, both the Catholic and Evangelical/Protestant, but also including leaders from indigenous peoples community to share on indigenous spirituality (i.e. catechists, JPIC and/or Social Action coordinators, Religion and/or Theology professors, Sunday school teachers, lay/parish leaders, religious/diocesan priests, nuns, pastors, Catholic school student council leaders, IP leaders). However, we are also inviting those who have experiences and are involved in social movements such as CSO advocates, which is one of the additional criteria. We also need participants who can represent his/her organization. Lastly, the network is on the lookout for participants who are willing to become real advocates who will work for the advocacy/campaign. Each organization is allowed to send two representatives at most to participate in the training.

The two-day training will be held on November 29-30, 2011, Tuesday to Wednesday at the BEC Development Center, Bgy. Asisan, Tagaytay City, Cavite. The training is free including transportation from Manila-to-Tagaytay, Tagaytay-to-Manila. However, transportation expenses of participants coming from provinces are not included in the package. We hope the organization that decided to send-in regional participants can take-on that expense as their counterpart/initial commitment to the advocacy.

The training is a very useful tool for understanding further the issue of debt – basic debt situation how does it relate to important issues like poverty and environment, the culture of Filipinos on the debt, its faith-based perspectives and how the faith-based community can help as debt advocates.

Attached with this letter is the tentative program of the two-day training and the participant’s registration form.

Should you have further inquiries about the event, please contact Jofti Villena (09088945174).

[In the news] High price of electricity is anti-women, anti-poor – www.cmaq.net

PHILIPPINES: High price of electricity is anti-women, anti-poor

MANILA, Philippines – In a society where women are mostly in-charge of managing the household budget, higher electricity rates mean additional burdens and deeper indebtedness for Filipino women, especially those who already find it hard to make ends meet.

Members of the Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC) – Women’s Committee picketing the office of the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) in Ortigas Center, sent this message to oppose an impending new wave of electricity rate hikes.

The National Power Corporation (Napocor) and Power Sector Assets Liabilities Management (PSALM) filed petitions with the ERC for the recovery of stranded debts and contract costs amounting to almost P140 billion. This translates to 40 centavos per kilowatt-hour that, with ERC’s go-ahead, will be collected through the universal charge.

Judy Ann Chan-Miranda of the FDC Women’s Committee urged the regulatory body to junk the petition of Napocor and PSALM, stressing that it is “anti-women” and “anti-poor.”

“High power rates means women taking on even more work to pay for electricity and have something left for other essentials. It means cutting the budget for food, medicines and healthcare, the education of children. It means having little choice but borrow from loan sharks to avoid disconnection,” said Chan-Miranda.

FDC filed an intervention before the regulatory body last August 19, stressing the lack of merit and substance of Napocor and PSALM’s petitions.

The coalition warned that the proposed rate hike is part of a series of petitions lined up by Napocor and PSALM to fully source from consumers the payments for Napocor’s $17 billion or P729 billion (P42 = $1) debt.

In a previous statement, FDC said the petition on stranded debts tends to lump all types of Napocor losses to be paid for by electricity consumers through the universal charge (UC). “This opens the door for Napocor to charge consumers twice – through its regulated rates and through the UC.”

The coalition added that “the amounts sought in the latest applications do not have any relation to our legitimate usage of electricity because these are mainly financial obligations in the form of debts, borne of past government incompetence, mismanagement and corruption.”

Read full article @ www.cmaq.net

[In the news] Power rate increases to hit women the hardest, group says – www.sunstar.com.ph

Power rate increases to hit women the hardest, group says
By Jonathan de Santos

POWER RATE hike applications pending at the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) will hit women the hardest if they are approved, a debt watchdog group warned Tuesday.

The Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC) Women’s Committee picketed the ERC office in Pasig City Tuesday to urge the regulatory body to turn down petitions from the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (Paslm) and the National Power Corp. (Napocor) to raise rates by around P0.40 per killowat-hour (kwh) to cover debt payments and contract costs.

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Judy Ann Chan-Miranda of the FDC Women’s Committee said the ERC should shoot down the “anti-women” and “anti-poor” proposed rate increases.

“High power rates mean women taking on even more work to pay for electricity and have something left for other essentials. It means cutting the budget for food, medicines and healthcare, the education of children. It means having little choice but borrow from loan sharks to avoid disconnection,” she said in a press statement.

Read full article @ www.sunstar.com.ph

[In the news] Congress urged to suspend P8-B payment for ‘illegitimate’ debts – www.gmanews.tv

Congress urged to suspend P8-B payment for ‘illegitimate’ debts

A budget watchdog on Monday called on Congress to suspend payment for P8-billion worth of debts, which it described as “illegitimate.”

The Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC) identified nine national government debts which were allegedly “fraudulent, wasteful and useless.”

The FDC said the financial obligations for these projects should be suspended:
Austrian Medical Waste Project
Social Expenditure Management Program 2
Secondary Education Development and Improvement Project
Philippine Merchant Marine Academy Modernization Project
Power Sector Restructuring Program
Power Sector Development Program
Angat Water Supply Optimization Project
Procurement of Search and Rescue Vessel from Tenix Defense Property Ltd. and
Pampanga Delta Development Project

“Kailangan suspendihin habang iniimbestigahan ‘yung kaso para malaman natin kung may anomalya talaga riyan, kung mayroon talagang panloloko o panlilinlang na nangyari. Kapag napatunayan iyon, dapat ipanawagan natin na huwag nang bayaran,” FDC project coordinator Jofti Villena said on Monday.

Villena said the allocations for the interest payments of these debts should instead be used to fund social services for next year.

She added that her group has already talked with some lawmakers to raise the matter during plenary discussions on the proposed 2012 budget.

The national government allocated P723 billion from the P1.816-trillion budget for next year for debt servicing.

“Pwede kasi na ang perang ito ay mapunta sa edukasyon, sa state colleges and universities na alam naman natin na sobrang binabaan na ang budget, or sa health or subsidy for agriculture,” she said.

Around 30 members of the FDC and other labor groups staged a protest in front of the Batasang Pambansa gates in Quezon City on Monday— a day before the lower chamber starts plenary debates on the national budget on Tuesday.

Read full article @ www.gmanews.tv

[Press Release] EPIRA a “massive failure” – FDC

MANILA, Philippines – For not succeeding in achieving its objectives of reducing the debts of the National Power Corporation (NPC) and bringing down the power rates in its 10 years of implementation, the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) is a “massive failure,” according to the Freedom from Debt Coalition.

FDC issued the statement echoing the opinion of Senator Joker Arroyo who said that “EPIRA is a failure” during a public hearing of the Joint Congressional Power Commission (JCPC) last Thursday at the Senate.

The advocacy group asked the JCPC to compel the NPC and the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation (PSALM) to make public their financial statements. PSALM is the agency in charge of selling government power assets.

FDC secretary-general Milo Tanchuling, who participated in the JCPC public hearing, stressed that after ten years since EPIRA was passed the power rates have increased and the total amount of NPC debts have remained virtually the same.

He explained that the figures presented by PSALM showed that the NPC’s debt and other financial obligations stood at US$16.387 billion in 2001 when EPIRA was passed. At the end of 2010, it amounted to US$15.821 billion, or a difference of only US$500 million.

“With regard to the basic generation rates of NPC, there have been two rounds of increases since EPIRA was approved, first in 2005 when NPC was granted a P1.03 per kilowatt per hour (kWh) increase and in 2009 when NPC was again granted increases of P0.4682 per kWh in Luzon, P1.1460 per kWh in the Visayas and P0.7147 per kWh in Mindanao,” he said.

Tanchuling said during the JCPC public hearing that his organization was “dismayed by the fact that the huge debts of NPC have remained in spite of repeated power rates increases and power adjustments under EPIRA which were all shouldered by ordinary consumers, not to mention the burden of additional taxes used to invest in the NPC power plants—most of which have now been sold supposedly to pay the NPC debts.”

“It was clear that, EPIRA did not provide for any substantial and meaningful renegotiation of NPC’s contracts with independent power producers (IPPs), even though these contracts require NPC to purchase electricity whether or not these are actually generated or dispatched, and to supply fuel to IPPs that are in operation. The price NPC agreed to pay for this electricity was overstated to begin with, and many of these contracts have clauses that allow the IPP to raise rates over time,” he pointed out.

Tanchuling noted that EPIRA’s failure to meet these two objectives were also the reasons mentioned by Senator Arroyo during the JCPC meeting for the failure of the EPIRA.

Tanchuling proposed to the JCPC that NPC and PSALM should release their annual financial statements to the JCPC so that the public may know why NPC’s indebtedness was not reduced even after selling the bulk of its assets, hiking its generation rates twice and, on top of these, receiving regular payments of its so-called deferred accounting adjustments through the Generation Rate Adjustment Mechanism (GRAM) and Incremental Currency Exchange Rate Adjustment Mechanism (ICERA).

“Moreover, a debt audit of the NPC debts and financial obligations is needed to determine if these were contracted under fair terms and conditions, and then used wisely and prudently. The Filipino people will also have a solid basis to demand the repudiation of any onerous debts and financial obligations of NPC,” he added, “which if passed on to electricity consumers and taxpayers would be a grave injustice.”

Press Release
Contact Person: Milo Tanchuling
Tel. No. (02) 921-19-85