[Press Release] Workers say resignation of ERC Chair Ducut is not enough: No real regulation unless EPIRA is repealed -BMP
Workers say resignation of ERC Chair Ducut is not enough:
No real regulation unless EPIRA is repealed
And energy regulating body is reorganized and democratized
MEMBERS of the Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) picketed the office of the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) in Pasig City this morning. The protesters are calling for the reorganization of the ERC, not just the resignation of its chair, Zenaida Ducut, a former representative of Pampanga and believed to be an ally of the Arroyos.
BMP National President Leody de Guzman said, “The removal of Ducut from the ERC is not enough. It will not reduce even a single centavo from extremely costly power rates now plaguing the Filipino people. Meralco’s $0.25/kwh is now the fifth highest in the world”.
He added, “The problem of spiraling electricity rates stems from the twin policies of privatization and deregulation, not from the personal character of the ERC chair, however repulsive she may be to this yellow administration. This dilemma started with the passage of the Electricity Power Industry Reform Act of 2001 (EPIRA), which fully opened the doors of the power industry to the richest oligarchs in the land: Lopez, Aboitiz, Cojuangco/Ang, Ayala, George Ty, Alcantara, Manny Pangilinan, Henry Sy and Gokongwei”.
De Guzman clarified, “In a privatized industry under EPIRA, the ERC became a useless ornament to rein in power rates. In actuality, it was an Energy DEREGULATION Commission that could not perform its supposed mandate as a regulatory body. It became an accomplice and ally of corporate interests”.
At the picket, protesters mimicked Makapili traitors by wearing straw bags (bayong) with the slogans “ERC: Tuta ng Kapitalista!” and “ERC: Kasabwat sa Mahal na Kuryente!”. According to De Guzman, the BMP intended to expose the treachery of ERC commissioners who have sacrificed their countrymen to the altars of corporate profit.
“Even if we appoint a saint to replace the much-despised Ducut, government would be virtually powerless to the oligarchs in the power industry as long as EPIRA remains enforced and the ERC is not reformed,” he explained.
The labor leader proposed that the majority of the ERC Board should come from people’s organizations, from representatives from workers, farmers, urban poor, professionals, academe, entrepreneurs and other basic sectors.
He concluded, “The underlying motive beneath the clamor for the resignation of Ducut is the people’s rage against excessive power rates. It is driven by justice not by simple bloodlust against a perceived incompetent public official. The most fitting conclusion to this controversy is for the Aquino administration to initiate the first steps towards regulating and controlling the power industry, not just to replace a pro-Gloria bureaucrat with a lackey of the Liberal Party”.
January 27, 2014
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