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IPPs owe public $9.99B DIE HARD III Herman Tiu Laurel 02/27/2012

Monday, February 27, 2012

IPPs owe public $9.99B

Herman Tiu Laurel
Much as this space would like to tackle the myriad other issues bedeviling the nation, we are constantly dragged back to the electricity or power plunder that continues to ravage this country to this day. We have repeatedly highlighted the anomalous fact of the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management (Psalm) Corp. and National Power Corp. (Napocor) debt staying at $18 billion despite over 10 years and almost 90 percent of the state’s power assets being “sold off” to the private sector since the start of the power privatization program under the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (Epira) of 2001. It is as if money from the sales vanished into thin air.

Last week, one clue was given by the state agency that manages these assets. When its top honcho, Emmanuel Ledesma Jr., said, “Psalm is yet to collect $9.99 billion in additional proceeds from the transfer of IPP (independent power producer) contracts to private administrators as of September 2011,” what it says is that taxpayers and power consumers are to be charged what the IPPs should have paid for but didn’t.

As for the other half of that $18-billion debt, Ledesma claims it as “$8.44 billion in debts assumed from” Napocor. Now wasn’t the privatization of Napocor assets supposed to cover all these? Where did proceeds from the sale of diesel-fired to hydroelectric and geothermal power plants go? How about the latest $4-billion privatization of the TransCo (the erstwhile state-owned transmission grid) to the private sector operator, National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP), that has also not been collected after two years?

In June 2011, it was reported that “government may use the receivables from the concession contract of the NGCP” on the pretext that “selling the receivables ahead of the scheduled payment of NGCP may help in the efforts to reduce the universal charge (UC).”

Wait a minute: TransCo was earning P18 billion a year when it was sold off; now it’s not even paid while the NGCP is already earning; hence, we now even have to rediscount the receivables? What name can you give to such a deal if not “historic swindle?”

I am just aghast at the magnitude of this scam and the impunity with which it continues to be perpetrated before the eyes of 95 million Filipinos. With the silent blessings of four Edsa administrations (Cory Aquino, Fidel Ramos, Gloria Arroyo, and now PeNoy), this national swindle rages on because of the silent consent of the entire Senate and Lower House of Congress, in collaboration with all government electricity agencies — from Psalm to the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC).

What is the power behind these power plunderers that all government institutions are cowed into compliance, even as we ordinary folk see their dictates as an unconscionable swindle?

What are we, the people of this nation, to do when our supposed representatives in government stand idly by as our pockets are looted and our economy is systematically laid to waste by the garrote of high electricity prices and a progressively failing economy over years and years of power plunder?

The latest statements of the Psalm chief only reveal how helpless government authorities really are in the face of the IPPs and power plunderer-privateers. Instead of pressing for these companies to pay up what are clearly debt obligations to government and the Filipino people, our supposed leaders continue to find ways on how to unburden these companies — to the detriment of the public.

With deceitful intent, Psalm has been trying to pass on these debts of the privateers via piecemeal transfers: P140 billion to be paid from the national budget and assumed by taxpayers; P0.39 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) as UC, shouldered again by power consumers over 20 years; with another bulk to be charged to Malampaya’s earnings; and only God knows what else.

If they were to pass these on as one lump sum to each electricity bill, it would amount to an additional P5/kWh over 20 years, which means up to 35 percent of added cost to each power consumer, who will fork out over P100 billion in power payments annually.

Congress has not approved such piecemeal schemes just yet because the ploy is too blatantly oppressive and dishonest; but it has done nothing to resolve the power plunder for the nation’s welfare either.

Malacañang, for its part, has only played deaf and dumb to the issue and the pleas of all sectors of society. At the rate the situation is developing, it is apparent that government has been made inutile, with the implication being that, at some point, all these debts will finally be transferred to us when we are at our most vulnerable — perhaps under another “revolutionary government” dictatorship a la Cory — so that the IPPs and power plunderers will never be made to pay the $18 billion anymore, thanks to Edsa I, Edsa II, and PeNoy.

Meanwhile, the power crisis in Mindanao is growing unabated despite an overabundance of capacity from hydroelectric dams that were deliberately sabotaged. The NGCP now projects an average shortfall there of 179 megawatts (MW) next month and a high 345 MW in April, even when just one facility, the Agus-Pulangi hydroelectric complex, already has 727 MW of installed capacity — this despite its production of only 467 MW today due to seemingly deliberate maintenance deficiencies.

Two Napocor power barges, 117 and 118, privatized to Aboitiz’ Therma Marine Corp. can, as well, generate 200 MW; but the rates are so high that the 33 Mindanao electric cooperatives refuse to buy from them.

Four power barges of Psalm, 101 to 104, lying idle in Luzon are being asked by the Mindanao Business Council to be deployed there to provide emergency power. But this cannot be done allegedly because it would violate the Epira’s ban on government from participating in power generation, even if it is just to help the people. How twisted, indeed, have our country’s laws become? Yet some twisted minds still have reason to celebrate Edsa?

(Tune in to 1098AM, dwAD, Sulo ng Pilipino/Radyo OpinYon, Monday to Friday, 5 to 6 p.m.; watch Destiny Cable GNN’s HTL edition of Talk News TV, Saturdays, 8:15 to 9 p.m., with replay at 11:15 p.m., on “Hocus PCOS: New proof of cheating?;” visit http://newkatipunero.blogspot.com for our articles plus TV and radio archives)

(Reprinted with permission from Mr. Herman Tiu-Laurel)

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20120227com5.html

An important lesson in history FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 02/27/2012

An important lesson in history

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
United States Supreme Court’s Associate Justice Samuel Chase’s impeachment trial appears to be eerily similar to that of the impeachment of Philippine Chief Justice Renato Corona’s.

It was also a US president, Thomas Jefferson, who disliked Chase and his Federalist views, and wanted him and other Federalist justices, among whom was the US Chief Justice Marshall, impeached, fearing that the high court would become too powerful.

Jefferson directly encouraged Congress, which was then dominated by Republicans, to impeach Chase. And he was so impeached, no differently from Noynoy’s direct intervention of the impeachment of Corona.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20120227com2.html

US pressures India to give up Iranian oil

US pressures India to give up Iranian oil

“Anyone but Iran,” is what the United States is telling India, as America attempts to persuade the country to go elsewhere for its oil needs.

There are currently no sanctions that would restrict India from continuing to do business with Iran, but any disruption in their relationship could cause the Iranian economy to be impacted significantly. Traditionally, India purchases around 12 percent of all its crude from Iran, a transaction that is worth around $12 billion each year. As the US continues to warn Iran to abandon its nuclear program or face the consequences, America is getting creative in finding ways to get them to crack.

Sources close to the matter tell Bloomberg that the US is considering getting involved in India’s oil trade and could offer assistance in broker deals with outside suppliers. At least three sources with inside knowledge have discussed the deal with the news outlet, but did so under condition of anonymity as details of the matter are intended to be kept confidential..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://rt.com/usa/news/us-india-oil-iran-159/

Smartphone users give total access to spying apps

Smartphone users give total access to spying apps

Every time you use your smartphone app your personal information – emails, phone numbers and even photos – is sent off to dozens of Internet companies all over the world. And you are the one who is allowing them access.

­Most users are aware that Internet companies like to collect information on their clients so that they can target their adverts better. But the sheer extent of their spying is shocking. And it’s all buried in the small print of the license agreement few bother to read. Often the information collected has nothing to do with function of the application.

Despite being a social network, Facebook reads your text messages, while photo application Flickr raids your contact book. In turn, video portal Youtube can access and download all of the users’ photographs..... MORE


URL: http://rt.com/news/smartphone-internet-privacy-spying-261/

China lashes out at Google’s lifting censorship (W/ Video)

China lashes out at Google’s lifting censorship

China has accused the world's leading search engine of breaking the promises it made when entering the market, after Google stopped self-censoring search results in the country.

It is now re-directing visitors to its unfiltered Hong Kong site.

However, not all results will still be accessible inside China, as government filters restrict the links people can click on..... MORE


URL: http://rt.com/news/google-china-censorship-scandal/

Gabriela to CBCP: Do not bear false witness against women’s health

Gabriela to CBCP: Do not bear false witness against women’s health

We continue to say, ‘yes’ to a comprehensive and pro-poor reproductive health bill and ‘no’ to population control.” – GWP Rep. Emmi de Jesus
MANILA — The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines has charged the Gabriela Women’s Party of allegedly admitting that that the Reproductive Health (RH) bill pending in both chambers of Congress, is “ neither pro-poor nor pro-women.”

In a report posted on the official CBCP website last February 20, the CBCP said that Gabriela has made the admission in a note on its own Facebook page. It referred to a note made by Gabriela declaring that “the RH bill cannot be genuinely pro-poor and pro-women for as long as it espouses population control, which blames poverty on women’s bodies, fertility and population.”

The somewhat misleading news story has prompted Gabriela Rep. Emmi de Jesus to call on the CBCP to “stop bearing false witness against women’s health.”

“GWP believes that House Bill 4244, popularly known as the RH Bill, has made positive strides for women. Gabriela Women’s Party has successfully included in the consolidated bill substantive provisions from its own bill, HB 3387. Among these are reproductive health care programs and services throughout one’s life cycle, services to address breast and reproductive tract cancers, and protection against chemicals injurious to working women,” De Jesus said.

According to de Jesus, her group also lobbies for prenatal leaves for women workers and pro-bono services especially for low-income and indigent pregnant women, as stated in the RH bill.

“On top of this, population or demographic targets were thrown out of the bill, and desired family size was made neither mandatory nor compulsory,” she said. “We need to remind CBCP not to distort the truth in its campaign against the RH bill. While it is true that GWP has consistently opposed the population control agenda, it does not mean that the GWP stands beside the Catholic Church hierarchy in blocking the passage of a legislation that calls for the promotion of women’s right to health.”.... MORE


URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2012/02/22/gabriela-to-cbcp-do-not-bear-false-witness-against-women%E2%80%99s-health/

P-Noy on Naguiat: Innocent until proven guilty? CROSSROADS Jonathan De la Cruz 02/27/2012

P-Noy on Naguiat: Innocent until proven guilty?

Jonathan De la Cruz
P-Noy has declared that his close friend and classmate Cristino “Bong” Naguiat is innocent until proven guilty. Which is how it should be. Not the other way around. That is, nobody can and should be declared guilty until and after he has been apprised of his crime, has confronted his accuser and the witnesses against him, afforded all the opportunity to prove his innocence and judged in the proper court with all the attendant protection of the law. That is how due process and the rule of law should be applied in a democracy.

“There is a presumption of innocence until proven guilty,” P-Noy intoned in defense of Naguiat, “so in this particular instance, we should afford him also the benefit of hearing him out before we make any judgment.” OK so far. Then came the breaker. “This constitutional presumption,” P-Noy continued, “is also being applied to Chief Justice Renato Corona.” What?! How?!.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20120227com4.html

Purisima’s financial papers show income, networth disparity 02/27/2012

Purisima’s financial papers show income, networth disparity

Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, the economic lieutenant of President Aquino, appears among the public officials who have not been properly disclosing his true financial worth based on various documents obtained by the Tribune, including his statement of assets, liabilities and networth (SALn).

During his confirmation hearings last year with the bicameral Commission on Appointments (CA), the discrepancy between Purisima’s declared assets and income from 2006 to 2009 was already raised.

The CA, in a report then, said Purisima declared an income of P22 million in his tax return against a P35 million networth in his SALn..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20120227hed6.html

CPP brands Edsa People Power rites as ‘stale, uninspiring’ 02/27/2012

CPP brands Edsa People Power rites as ‘stale, uninspiring’

The failure of the Aquino government to address the social problems plaguing the country at present was “stale and uninspiring,” said the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) yesterday as the country celebrated the 26th anniversary of the Edsa People Power I.

The CPP, in a statement, said that the Aquino administration failed to address the grave social problems like landlessness, unemployment, poverty, hunger, social injustice and worsening inequities.

“The Aquino regime is now responsible for the perpetuation of the acute social ills that plague the Filipino people,” the CPP said.”Aquino has sought to draw from the spirit of the Edsa people uprising to generate support to his regime but miserably fails to inspire the toiling masses whose grave social conditions continue to deteriorate under his anti-people and pro-imperialist policies.”.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20120227nat5.html

House panel junks probe into colleagues role in CJ ‘leaked’ bank accounts By Gerry Baldo 02/27/2012

House panel junks probe into colleagues role in CJ ‘leaked’ bank accounts

By Gerry Baldo 02/27/2012

The House ethics committee yesterday rejected the move to cite two lawmakers in connection with their alleged participation in the disclosure of the questionable bank accounts of impeached Chief Justice Renato Corona.

According Bohol Rep. Erico Aumentado, chairman of the House committee on ethics, he will start with the investigation for possible violation of the Bank Secrecy Law only after the impeachment case of the Chief Justice has been resolved.

The House minority has asked Aumentado to have Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali, a public prosecutor, and Quezon City Rep. Jorge “Bolet” Banal, a member of the prosecution’s secretariat, investigated for alleged involvement in the disclosure of Corona’s bank accounts..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20120227hed2.html

Malacaang vacillates on need to evict Arenda settlers By Fernan J. Angeles 02/27/2012

Malacanang vacillates on need to evict Arenda settlers

By Fernan J. Angeles 02/27/2012

President Aquino, who has been boasting of his administrations sensitivity on the need to fast-track socialized housing program for the poor, is now made to choose whether to render some 50,000 families homeless or to let them stay in a 270-hectare reclaimed parcel at the border of Pasig City and Taytay town in Rizal.

Malacaang doesnt appear keen on getting them out of the danger zone despite stern warnings based on recent findings manifesting the 270-hectare lakeshore community in Barangay Sta. Ana in Taytay, Rizal, isnt fit for human settlement.

In a statement issued to Palace reporters, the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) said that the government has already put in place remedial measures designed to minimize liquefaction of an area that is now referred to as Lupang Arenda..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20120227nat2.html

Stradcom mouthpiece lambasts P7.9-B DoTC Road Transport IT project By Charlie V. Manalo 02/27/2012

Stradcom mouthpiece lambasts P7.9-B DoTC Road Transport IT project

By Charlie V. Manalo 02/27/2012

Why spend when it could have everything for free?

With the government aggressively trying to cut down on unnecessary expenditures and enjoining private enterprise to invest in so-called private public partnership (PPP) programs , the intention of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DoTC) to procure P7.9-billion hardware and software to construct the IT infrastructure of the Land Transportation Office (LTO) and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) contradicts the very essence of the administration’s advocacy of a true and ideal PPP.

Stradcom spokesman Margaux Salcedo made the observation as she reiterated the call urging DoTC officials to study and reconsider first the plans of Stradcom for a renewed contract before total and outright rejection of the IT firms proposal which, according to Salcedo, will put to waste almost P8 billion of taxpayers’ money for a project which the government could get for free..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20120227met3.html

Ona to Noy: Air we breathe today ‘far more risky’ 02/27/2012

Ona to Noy: Air we breathe today ‘far more risky’

While President Aquino has claimed that pollution level in Metro Manila significantly went down when he assumed office, Health Secretary Enrique Ona said otherwise, hinting that the air we breathe today is far more risky.

Portraying a role of an environmental expert, deputy presidential spokesman Abigail Valte at a radio press briefing insisted the conflicting claims are similarly factual and consistent even as she cited other factors that should be considered, one of which is the onset of the summer season.

Valte, who is neither an environmental specialist nor a physician, had a lengthy technical explanation designed to reconcile what appears to be totally opposing claims made by Ona and the President at the Pulong Bayan ng Pangulo in La Consolacion College in Manila..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20120227met5.html

Solon wants life term imposed on participants in frat hazing By Angie M. Rosales 02/27/2012

Solon wants life term imposed on participants in frat hazing

By Angie M. Rosales 02/27/2012

Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III has sought the amendment to the Anti-Hazing law by imposing the penalty of life imprisonment on all those found to be participants in a fraternity-related violence.

The upper chamber leader is proposing to have Republic Act 8049 an absolute imposition of reclusion perpetua or life term, on those who will be found guilty of the crime, whatever the condition of the victim.

The present law provides for a graduated level of penalty, depending on the harm that the victim suffered..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20120227met1.html

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