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Salivating for Agus-Pulangi DIE HARD III Herman Tiu Laurel 04/02/2012

Monday, April 2, 2012

Salivating for Agus-Pulangi

Herman Tiu Laurel
Jojo Borja, one of the major owners of Iligan Light and Power who is at the forefront of the crusade to expose the anomalies of the power privatization caper, reports that a number of his Mindanao colleagues got wind of broadcast interviews where Serge Osmea called for the privatization of the Agus-Pulangi hydroelectric complex. As such longstanding anomalies are a direct result of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (Epira), a law that gave rise to the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) and Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management (Psalm) Corp., one of Borjas sources, a Psalm executive, naturally doesnt want to be named.

Mindanao is ultra-sensitive to any suggestion of privatizing its treasure that is the Agus-Pulangi complex. As the people there know that greedy and dirty hands are just waiting to grab this wonder of Mindanao away from them, a mere mention of it would be absolutely revolting.

According to Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC)s Wilson Fortaleza, who just came from a National Power Corp. (Napocor) Union-sponsored review of Agus-Pulangi, the hydroelectric plants there (which started operations in 1953) are by now fully depreciated. Thus, the electricity that is produced is less than P0.01 per kilowatt-hour (kWh).

It is easy to understand Mindanaos aversion to privatization. During the past weeks power crisis in Mindanao, some prominent local officials have cited the privatization of Mt. Apo Geothermal to a Lopez company as an issue. Geothermal energy, according to the Center for Energy and Climate Solutions, should only cost anywhere between $0.01 to $0.05/kWh, or from P0.42 to P2.00/kWh on todays exchange rate. But North Cotabato Gov. Emilou Talio-Mendoza and General Santos City Mayor Darlene Antonino-Custodio assert that the private Lopez firm charges a walloping P14/kWh of electricity.

In making his case against government-run power, Senator Osmea said in a March 29 interview that Because government tries to lower the price of electricity a president can order power rates to be lowered to become popular. The case of Mt. Apo Geothermal, however, only shows that privatization has resulted in the population being blackmailed with price gouging rates while the oligarchs sit back and watch the regions economy face disaster without concern.

If we go by Osmeas logic, then government must not and should not be concerned about the peoples welfare; government should make only the power oligarchs interests topmost in its priorities; and government need not bother with the welfare of the national economy where industries that have to bear the highest power cost in Asia can no longer compete with other countries.

Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) chief Lualhati Antonino expressed a deeper suspicion: That the privatized transmission company now called the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) is creating this power crisis to force a privatization of the Agus-Pulangi on the pretext that government has failed.
The likely scenario is that, upon privatization, the Agus-Pulangis less than P0.01/kWh electricity will be sold to Luzon and Visayas for P5.00/kWh when the NGCP lays the submarine cables to link the Mindanao grid back to the islands northward.

Antonino states: I am sorry to say that based on my studies and the researches of my office, I think NGCP is fooling us Where are the power generated by the hydroelectric power generators?... I dont believe it. NGCP is creating an artificial shortage. Niloloko nila tayo (They are fooling us)

International observers today confirm what the Executive Intelligence Review (EIR) reported years ago: Under President Corazon Aquino, no new energy generating capacity was added (and) since the 1993 Ramos emergency measures, the cumulative amount of loot that these forces took out of Napocor (totaled) an estimated $2.5 billion to $4 billion, if not more (As this was estimated years ago, it should now stand at $10 billion.)

To continue, the EIR explains (in its article, The Lessons of California and Brazil) that Companies such as Enron, Reliant Energy bid up the price of electricity on the California Electricity Spot Market (like our own Wholesale Electricity Spot Market or Wesm) (driving) up the average price (by) more than a 1,000 percent. It further states that The Philippines Power Reform Bill replicates all the key destructive features of California.

Malacaang resident Noynoyer, PeNoy Aquino, has not offered any solution to the Mindanaoans pleas, except that they should expect contracting power barges that would result in higher electricity rates, saying, You will have to share the burden But would the people and consumers of Mindanao share in the profit, too? No way: Thats because in PeNoys world, profits are only for the oligarchs while the entire burden should be for the consumers.

With the Agus-Pulangi still in public hands, all the people are able to share in the bounties flowing from it. If only government ceases to be captive to the oligarchy, the bounties from renewable power in Mindanao and everywhere in the Philippines can be multiplied a hundred fold. But, as our sad experience with the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (Epira) tells us, we, the people, must now wait no longer in junking that privatization law to restore the public sectors control of our countrys economic affairs, particularly electricity generation and distribution. Once this is achieved, government can proceed to prioritize more mini and micro-hydro and geothermal development instead of fossil fuel energy.

We shall end with the latest confirmation of the Philippines highest power cost in Asia from the 2011 comparative survey of the Japan External Trade Organization: Manila at $0.23/kWh; Tokyo and Singapore at $0.20/kWh; Sydney at $0.19/kWh; Colombo at $0.18/kWh; Mumbai at $0.16/kWh; Phnom Penh at $0.15/kWh; Hong Kong at $0.14/kWh; Auckland and Taipei at $0.12/kWh; Kuala Lumpur and Karachi at $0.11/kWh; Shenzhen and Chennai at $0.10/kWh; and Jakarta, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and New Delhi at $0.09/kWh.

The survey also confirms what our colleague Butch Junia has always stressed: That contrary to claims by Osmea of government subsidizing power rates, the reason Philippine commercial/industrial rates are not the highest in Asia yet is that these are subsidized by residential consumers, who, even while consuming only 30 percent of the Manila Electric Co.s distributed electricity, contribute to 67 percent of the power companys income by shouldering incredibly high and lopsided rates. Thats subsidy for you, Serge!

(Tune in to 1098AM, dwAD, Sulo ng Pilipino/Radyo OpinYon, Monday to Friday, 5 to 6 p.m.; watch Destiny Cable GNNs HTL edition of Talk News TV, Saturdays, 8:15 to 9 p.m., with replay at 11:15 p.m., after Lent, on Mindanao power blackmail? Part II; 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/20120402com5.html

Buying a pig in the poke FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 04/02/2012

Buying a pig in the poke

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) and Malacaang that will no doubt benefit from it, are in for a lot of trouble come election day, mainly because using the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines, defective as they, are prone to facilitate even bigger electoral fraud in 2013.

Also, the Comelec, despite a new leadership, is really not ready to conduct PCOS-style elections.

What is likely to occur is more cheating, since these machines have no safeguards, as proven in the last polls where these machines were used, apart from the fact that the errors, despite the claims of the Comelec chief that the errors were human errors, are in reality, mostly machine errors, with the usual Comelec cheating syndicate up on its toes in perfecting its electoral fraud scheme.

More problems are bound to surface, as the Comelec commissioners have hardly any clue on how to conduct automated polls..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20120402com2.html

CIA ‘should pay for Nazi-like Poland prison’

CIA ‘should pay for Nazi-like Poland prison’

The smoldering scandal around an alleged CIA secret prison in Poland has exploded again, as charges have been brought against the country's former intelligence chief for allowing the site. For years, Poland’s top officials denied the prison existed.

­Former U.S. president George W. Bush stipulated that important prisoners should be interrogated in a special way, which implied having a secure place to do so. The Polish facility was one of these, former CIA officer Raymond McGovern, who followed the story for years, told RT..... MORE


URL: http://rt.com/news/cia-poland-prison-mcgovern-003/

Cop’s 'ear' in your pocket: Cell phone tracking routine with US police

Cop’s 'ear' in your pocket: Cell phone tracking routine with US police

Keys, driver's license, cell phone…off we go! While an officer can only get your personal details by prompting you to take out the ID, your phone could give you away at the police’s first request – a request neither you nor a court may ever learn of.

Cell phone tracking, previously associated with federal agents, now seems to have become routine for many police departments. A recent report by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) shows that police have not only grown into the practice, but also drop the court warrant stage from the procedure.

Over 200 police departments nationwide responded to the ACLU’s pubic requests virtually acknowledging that they track cell phones. But only very few of the interviewed departments says they obtain a court warrant to tune in on a phone. .... MORE


URL: http://rt.com/usa/news/usa-police-tracking-cell-phone-988/

Mining confab declares: “Philippines is not for sale”

Mining confab declares: “Philippines is not for sale”

Northern Dispatch www.nordis.net
TAGAYTAY CITY – Concluding with a declaration that the “Philippines is not for sale”, delegates to the Third People’s Mining Conference here, shared their resolutions and declarations at a multi-sectoral joint protest action in Mendiola, Manila to commemorate the passage of the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 on March 3.

On the theme, “Heighten our Struggle for Land, Life and Environment. Stop Mining Plunder!” the Third People’s Mining Conference held from March 1-2 in Sta. Rita, here, had over 200 participants from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao representing people’s organizations, sectors, non-government organizations (NGOs), church groups, environmental advocates, local government officials, representatives from Defend Ilocos Against Mining Plunder, and Amianan Salakniban (Defend the North).

The said conference was organized by Defend Patrimony, Center for Environmental Concerns Philippines (CECP), Ecumenical Bishop Forum (EBF), Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (Kalikasan), Kalipunan ng mga Katutubong Mamayan ng Pilipinas (KAMP) and Stewards of Creation. It was formally opened with a tribute to all the martyrs and defenders of the environment, and a keynote address of Bayan Muna Partylist Rep. Teddy Casiño, who is also the chairman of House Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship Development.

Casiño discussed how the mining policy of President Benigno Aquino III government is adversely affecting and destroying communities covered by mining operations.

He also tackled the impacts of Philippine Mining Act of 1995, which liberalized the country’s mining industry, caused horrendous environmental destruction and provided plunderous advantages to large mines, especially foreign corporations, instead of economic development opportunities to Filipinos..... MORE


URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2012/03/20/57612/

Crime everywhere HE SAYS Aldrin Cardon 04/02/2012

Crime everywhere

Aldrin Cardon
Daring was first used to describe the thoughtless act of violence by a small group of men — initially believed to be four or a little more — who appeared to have successfully conducted the heist just as the Robinson’s Galleria in Ortigas, Pasig was about to start what should have been an ordinary week’s day.

Categorizing the incident should fall short as an act of terror as one was killed — the security personnel who assisted in the delivery of the money from a bank to the money changer recipient — and six others, mostly innocent pedestrians who were about to go about their usual businesses for the day.

The heist, as police sources later revealed, was quickly completed. Analysts have also likened it to a movie script, except that it was real.

The report by The Daily Tribune’s Gina Peralta-Elorde summed it up in detail: “two armed men donned security guard uniforms and followed the roving tellers of Security Bank located inside the mall. (The two) shot the group of tellers, including the two security guards, upon reaching the Level 1 area of the mall near the Sanry’s Money Changer….... MORE
SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20120402com6.html

Earth Hour and the MMORS CROSSROADS Jonathan De la Cruz 04/02/2012

Earth Hour and the MMORS

Jonathan De la Cruz
Well, P-Noy and Energy Secretary Rene Almendras will just have to grin and bear it. Last Saturday’s celebration of the annual worldwide Earth Hour campaign which called on all participants to “give nature a little rest by switching lights off for an hour between 8:30 and 9:30 p.m.” was used by concerned groups, especially our brothers in Mindanao to mock the government’s inaction and, yes, insensitivity, mainly cavalier statements coming from Palace spokesmen, to their plight.

Agham PL Rep. Angelo Palmones noted that Mindanao has been observing Earth Hour everyday for the past two years. Referring to the daily rotating brown outs in the area which usually last up to eight hours per sector, Palmones quipped “we have called it the Eight Hours.

It is our way of life in Mindanao.” It did not help any that the presidential spokesman kept on with his harangues echoing Sen. Serge Osmeña’s advisory that Mindanaoans have been “spoiled” for years with “dirt cheap” power rates. To be fair, that temporizing assessment fails to factor in Mindanao’s abundant resources which has remained underutilized if not misused by a succession of administrations giving Mindanaoans reason to insist that they deserve to have such “cheap rates.”.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20120402com4.html

Inaction may lead to power crisis in 2 years — Angara By Angie M. Rosales 04/02/2012


Inaction may lead to power crisis in 2 years — Angara

By Angie M. Rosales 04/02/2012

A bigger power crisis that will spread from Mindanao to Luzon is expected within two years if the Aquino administration continues to vacillate on the needed policies to meet rising power demand, Sen. Edgardo Angara yesterday said.

Reserve power supply in Luzon can still meet the rising demand but only until the next two years, Angara said, as he expressed concern over the possibility of the Mindanao power crisis spilling to other regions.

“If nothing is done, the crippling power crisis being experienced in Mindanao could shift to Luzon in two years. It’s a rolling crisis,” the senator said, noting reports on power supply problems projected as well in the Visayas region..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20120402hea1.html

RP denies Viet wargames deal amid China protest By Mario J. Mallari 04/02/2012

RP denies Viet wargames deal amid China protest

By Mario J. Mallari 04/02/2012

The Philippine Navy (PN) leadership yesterday clarified that there is no agreement with Vietnam to hold wargames in the West Philippine Sea, which is what the country calls the South China Sea, where the disputed Kalaayan Islands Group (KIGs) or the Spratlys are located.

However, in an earlier press release, the PN said that a joint maritime patrol along common domains with the Vietnamese navy was discussed during Philippine Navy Flag Officer in Command Vice Admiral Alexander Pama’s recent visit to Hanoi.

In a radio interview, Pama denied reports that there was an agreement reached during his recent visit to the Vietnam People’s Navy (VPN) to hold wargames or any other joint exercises after China protested over reports of the planned military exercise..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20120402hea2.html

AFP ex-chief named CDC chair By Rocky G. Nazareno 04/02/2012

AFP ex-chief named CDC chair

By Rocky G. Nazareno 04/02/2012

President Aquino has appointed former Armed Forces chief of staff Eduard Oban as chairman of the state-owned Clark Development Corp. (CDC).

Deputy Presidential Spokesman Abigail Valte yesterday confirmed Oban’s appointment in an interview over a government radio station.

Oban retired last December just when the AFP was embroiled in a fund scam in which former military budget officer George Rabusa revealed that former AFP top brass were given cash gifts or pabaon prior to retirement.
Oban replaced Arnel Casanova who had held the CDC chair in acting capacity..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20120402nat1.html

Owner of Mindanao school killed 04/02/2012

Owner of Mindanao school killed

An owner of a university in Zamboanga City was shot dead by still unidentified armed men noontime Sunday, police reports said.

Citing initial reports from the field, Philippine National Police spokesman Chief Supt. Agrimero Cruz Jr. identified the victim as Arturo Eustaquio, owner of the Universidad de Zamboanga, formerly known as Zamboanga AE Colleges..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20120402nat4.html

Lim orders thorough probe into Sampaloc Public Mart fire By Pat C. Santos 04/02/2012

Lim orders thorough probe into Sampaloc Public Mart fire

By Pat C. Santos 04/02/2012

Just after the disclosure of sale of the controversial Basa-Guidote lot in Sampaloc to the city of Manila, a fire of mysterious origin razed the now Sampaloc Public Market at dawn yesterday.

According to the Manila Fire Bureau, the fire started at a stall selling slippers at 1:50 a.m. It was declared under control at 2:38 a.m. and “fire out” at 3:34 a.m.

No one was reported injured in the fire which reached third alarm.

Fire authorities were still conducting investigation to determine the cause of the fire. Meanwhile, Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim yesterday ordered a thorough investigation into the fire..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20120402met3.html

PNP gives public tips on how to observe Holy Week, summer safety By Mario J. Mallari 04/02/2012

PNP gives public tips on how to observe Holy Week, summer safety

By Mario J. Mallari 04/02/2012

The Philippine National Police (PNP) has issued tips to the public on how to observe the Holy Week and the summer vacation safely.

Chief Supt. Agrimero Cruz Jr., spokesman for the PNP, said the PNP will be distributing flyers entitled “Tips para maiwasan ang krimen at sakuna sa Semana Santa at ngayong Summer Vacation” in public places throughout the country to keep the people aware of their safety.

Cruz, also the officer-in-charge of the PNP’s Police Community Relations Group, particularly reminded travelers with their own vehicles to make sure that the check list on long-driving is done before the trip..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20120402met4.html

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