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Thunderbolts of greed DIE HARD III Herman Tiu Laurel 04/23/2012

Monday, April 23, 2012

Thunderbolts of greed

Herman Tiu Laurel
The Filipino people as a whole have finally awakened to the electrocution they have been victim to by the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (Epira) passed and signed into law 10 years ago. It took the resistance of our brothers in Mindanao for the rest of the country to realize that a fight does exist between the commonweal and the interest of the oligarchy. For so long, the oligarchs have encroached on and taken over government to execute their extractions of profit and wealth at the expense of the people.

Luzon and the Visayas were first to be hit by the thunderbolts of greed. And perhaps because the shock and confusion at that time was still too novel, both succumbed to defeat. Mindanao, on the other hand, which enjoyed a decade-long exemption from the Epira, had ample time to witness the disastrous economic impact of that law and its deleterious effect on the lives of their brothers northward. And so it was when the oligarchs’ final phase of privatization kicked in, Mindanao was already poised to fight back.

Among the many pivotal personalities who need to be commended in this crusade is Mr. Luis “Louie” Corral, who has been key to preparing the studies that many of Mindanao’s political leaders are using to inform themselves and the public, as well as to prepare for their debates with the Department of Energy (DoE) on the power crisis and the Agus-Pulangi hydroelectric complex. These points — which would have been incontrovertible even by Epira’s standards and those of high power price champion, Sen. Serge Osmeña — were all set to be presented to PeNoy at the Davao power summit two Fridays ago but were set aside because the chief executive opted to harangue the summit’s 1,000 attendees with an irked lecture.

Perhaps because a few sensible people admonished him some time after that, BS Aquino III surprisingly had a change in tone. Last April 21, for instance, it was reported that he gave an order to “Review power rates,” noting that the “…Hike in electricity charges in Visayas,” in regard to the latest Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) approvals of rate hike petitions, “may be unwarranted.”

This announcement, of course, is a heretofore unheard of expression of interest, concern, and sympathy for the plight of power consumers from PeNoy, which we anti-Epira crusaders can only hope is a sign that a spark of realization of the very real and massive problem of power rates in this country has been triggered. We hope, too, that this is a sign that the power of the oligarchs’ agents, such as Serge Osmeña and Dina Abad, is already on the wane. Maybe it is also PeNoy’s realization of the political impact of his failure at the Davao summit, which could seriously damage his 2013 senatorial slate. Whatever it is, we hope BS Aquino III has now finally wised up because the nation will need his support to weather the worst of the electric storms to come.

Louie Corral has an excellent Power Point summation of the thunderbolts that will be hitting us if nothing is done to avert the damage that Epira has caused the 92 million Filipino consuming public. In the section, “The Coming Storm,” we are alerted to: “Additional rate increases from Psalm (Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp.)’s P1 trillion stranded costs… as part of the ‘Universal Charge’… (will) cost an additional P0.39 per kilowatt-hour (kWh); (the National Power Corp. or Napocor’s Small Power Utility Group’s) budget shortfall of P7 billion just for 2011… (will cost an) additional P0.07/kWh… (also for) the ‘Universal Charge;’ an additional SPUG budget shortfall of P3.1 billion (going to) the ERC’s Incremental Currency Exchange Rate Adjustment (Icera) and Generation Rate Adjustment Mechanism (Gram)… will increase power rates for off-grid areas; the Napocor-Manila Electric Co. P14-billion Court of Appeals settlement may prompt Meralco to pass-through the amount of penalty to its consumers.

“Pending ERC petitions of Meralco, Davao Light and Power, Visayas Electric Co., and other distribution utilities (including 119 electric cooperatives); transition supply contracts between distribution corporations and/or Napocor and the privatized generating firms end(ing) in 2011 (that) are up for renewal… (noting that since) these generating companies are defined under the Epira as not being utilities, and therefore not subject to a 12-percent ceiling on (their rates of return)… the end result is that… generation charges will zoom up with their new contracts; transition supply contracts of independent power producers (IPP)… selling through an IPP Administrator (salesman or middleman) end(ing) in 2011… will bring up generation charges (with new IPP contracts); the proposed Renewable Energy program with its feed-in tariff would tie the country up to immature, unreliable and expensive power that would entail an additional P0.1256/kWh; the Supreme Court case on the illegal dismissal of Napocor workers that will net back wages of up to P48 billion…”
Louie adds: “Every one centavo per kWh increase represents P657,000,000 per annum (based on current demand of 7,300 megawatts); one centavo/kWh of power increase means 40 percent or P263,000,000 taken away, which should be food for the poor (based on lifeline rates); (while) 10 percent (of it) or P118,000 represents educational costs, medicine, transportation or house rentals.”

There are many, many more alerts issued by Louie that we will have to include in our next columns. But there is an important one that we must highlight right now: The much-vaunted full “open access,” which the DoE and ERC keep claiming will bring down rates, but which may instead cause rates to rise as large scale commercial/industrial consumers like giant malls and the like set up their own power plants, causing Meralco and its ilk to compensate for lost revenues by filing petitions for more rate hikes. At this point, only fools won’t see that these are the unintended consequences of an ill-thought-out, greed-motivated, corruption-tainted privatization law.

(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., for constant updates on “The power thunderbolts to hit;” 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/20120423com5.html

Clueless DFA EDITORIAL 04/23/2012

Clueless DFA

Click to enlarge
Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, short of chiding the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), of which the country is a member, had said that a stand should be made by the regional group on the current stand off the Philippines has with China over the Scarborough Shoal.

In a tone that sounds like he was wondering out loud, Del Rosario said that not one of the Asean members had issued any statement over the issue, commenting that all members of Asean would be affected if it fails to take a stand.

Like Noynoy, Del Rosario appears to be completely clueless on the sentiment of their neighbors on how the administration had addressed the frictions on its territorial claims..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20120423com1.html

Iran starts cloning of American spy drone

Iran starts cloning of American spy drone

Iran has completed reverse-engineering of the captured US spy drone and has started building its own copy, Iranian media reports.

The Revolutionary Guard is yet to decode parts of the software the Sentinel aircraft uses, General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, who heads the force’s aerospace division, said on Sunday.

"The Americans should be aware to what extent we have infiltrated the plane," Iranian Fars news agency quoted the general as saying. "Our experts have a full understanding of its components and programs.".... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://rt.com/news/iran-spy-drone-copy-667/

Russia, China trade naval know-how in drills (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

Russia, China trade naval know-how in drills (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

Four Russian warships have docked at a Chinese naval base near Qingdao, a port in the south of the country. They are taking a break from guarding vessels in pirate-infested waters near Somalia for joint military drills.

­The Russian-Chinese maneuvers dubbed Naval Cooperation-2012 began in the Yellow Sea this Sunday.  The exercises are designed to build on what both forces have been doing in the past couple of years in the Gulf of Aden to counter piracy.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://rt.com/news/russia-china-drills-warships-679/

'Ctrl+C me, my brothers' - Piracy preachers paste themselves in US

'Ctrl+C me, my brothers' - Piracy preachers paste themselves in US

A Sweden-born “online piracy religion” is seeking official recognition in the United States. “Kopimists” preach that any act of copying information is sacred and cannot be limited by any human law.

The movement, established in late 2010 by then-19-year-old philosophy student Isak Gerson, holds Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V – the keyboard shortcuts for copy and paste commands – as its sacred symbols.

The name Kopimism is world play on “copy me”, inspired by a Biblical quote from 1 Corinthians 11:1, “Copy me, my brothers, just as I copy Christ himself.”.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://rt.com/news/online-piracy-religion-us-698/

Why not Chito Sta. Romana? CROSSROADS Jonathan De la Cruz 04/23/2012

Why not Chito Sta. Romana?

Jonathan De la Cruz
Break the impasse: Banish the thought of a quick resolution of the impasse between the Philippines and China over the Scarborough shoal. There is no way that the eight vessels in the area, i.e., three Chinese fishing boats, three Chinese patrol boats the latest and biggest belonging to the Chinese Ministry of Fisheries and two Philippine vessels, one belonging to the Coast Guard and the other a research ship, will simply move out of the disputed territory without as much as a carefully choreographed process to save both countries from any further embarrassment engendered by the harsh rhetoric and precipitate actions which have been thrown in since we intercepted the Chinese fishing vessels some weeks back.

To break the impasse and bring a modicum of calm in the area there is now a need for quiet diplomacy to work. As both of us cannot afford to have any kind of accident in the area, contrived or otherwise, which can exacerbate the already tense situation, there must be a way to lower the temperature and let friendly persuasion and diplomacy take its course.

Which is why even as we are bringing our case to the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea (ITLOS), a move which P-Noy and Secretary Alberto del Rosario declared they are going to do and to which the Chinese have vehemently objected, we propose that government engage our friend, Chito Sta. Romana, to assist in cooling the heated atmosphere and bring our two countries to talk things over. Instead of impatiently daring each other like children to make the first move which may not be forthcoming at this point, Sta. Romana can possibly draft a mutually acceptable “road map,” so to speak, out of this standoff and bring the same to the attention of the two countries’ leadership..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20120423com4.html

US cites treaty, commits ‘assistance’ to RP in row 04/23/2012

US cites treaty, commits ‘assistance’ to RP in row

A senior US commander in the Pacific reaffirmed the United States’ mutual defense treaty with the Philippines as a way of response to the call of Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario for other countries to take a stand on China’s increasingly aggressive posture in the region.

In the strongest comments yet from an American official on the South China Sea dispute, Commander of the US Marines in the Pacific Lt. Gen. Duane Thiessen said the Philippines and US were bound by a military agreement.

“The United States and the Philippines have a mutual defense treaty which guarantees that we get involved in each other’s defense and that is self explanatory,” he told reporters in Puerto Princesa, the capital of Palawan..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20120423hea2.html

RP-US war games not Beijing’s business — AFP By Mario J. Mallari 04/23/2012

RP-US war games not Beijing’s business — AFP

By Mario J. Mallari 04/23/2012

Despite warning from China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) that the ongoing Balikatan exercises between Filipino and American troops have fanned risks of armed confrontation over disputed area in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea), the joint RP-US military training will push through as scheduled.

In fact, the military’s Western Command (Westcom), which has jurisdiction over some parts of the disputed West Philippine Sea, yesterday shrugged off the warning aired in a newspaper commentary of China’s PLA as “warmongering.”

Westcom chief Lt. Gen. Juancho Sabban stressed the ongoing Balikatan joint exercises between personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the United States Armed Forces have nothing to do with the maritime dispute..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20120423hea3.html

Gov’t inaction on renewable energy blamed for worsening power crisis By Angie M. Rosales 04/23/2012

Gov’t inaction on renewable energy blamed for worsening power crisis

By Angie M. Rosales 04/23/2012

Sen. Edgardo Angara yesterday blamed the slow implementation of the law on renewable source of energy, saying it has exacerbated power supply crisis gripping the country.

“We had already arrived at a solution long before the recent spate of rotating brownouts in Mindanao happened,” he said, emphasizing the matter of laying down in the table, Republic Act 9513, or the Renewable Energy Act of 2008.

Around $5 billion worth of potential investments are said to have gone elsewhere due to the slow pace of development as the country has the potential to generate almost 261,000 megawatt (MW) of clean energy from the combined capacity of geothermal, wind, ocean and hydropower resources..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20120423hea5.html

IPs form new party-list 04/23/2012

IPs form new party-list

Indigenous peoples from all over the country gathered and formed a new partylist to represent them in preparation for next year’s election.

Dubbed the National Coalition of Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), the new group was recently organized by members of various ethnic groups at Isabela’s Angadanan town..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20120423nat5.html

Maguindanao ex-mayor seeks new probe into multiple murder raps By Benjamin B. Pulta 04/23/2012

Maguindanao ex-mayor seeks new probe into multiple murder raps

By Benjamin B. Pulta 04/23/2012

The former mayor of Datu Piang town in Maguindanao is seeking a reinvestigation of the multiple murder case filed against him after the Department of Justice he what were “railroaded” filing of the criminal information against him.

In a 21-page memorandum filed before the Cotabato Regional Trial Court (RTC), former mayor Samer Uy of Datu Piang, sought the recall of the warrant of arrest issued against him and the remanding of the case to the provincial prosecutor of Maguindanao for preliminary investigation.

With co-respondents Sukarno Tapaya Uspo, Ben Carandang, Sherhan Uy, Musib Tan and Mike Brando, he was charged with multiple murder by Maguindanao Provincial Prosecutor Rodolfo Yanson allegedly without the proper conduct of preliminary investigation..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20120423nat3.html

PNP chief orders scrutiny of all gun purchases 04/23/2012

PNP chief orders scrutiny of all gun purchases

Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Nicanor Bartolome has instructed all his units, especially the Firearms and Explosive Division, to scrutinize closely all purported purchases of guns to determine whether these are legitimate acquisitions or just intended to boost the firepower of groups planning to sow terror and violence during next year’s mid-term elections.

“We are now monitoring all firearms purchases in the country to determine whether these are all legitimate,” Bartolome said..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20120423met2.html

Law prohibits QC folk from burning garbage By Arlie O. Calalo 04/23/2012

Law prohibits QC folk from burning garbage

By Arlie O. Calalo 04/23/2012

Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista has signed into law an ordinance prohibiting local residents from burning their garbage, trash or any other refuse materials.

“It is about time for the local government to encourage the community dwellers to be part of the city’s bid to protect the environment to meet a balanced and healthful ecology that will benefit all QC residents,” the mayor said.

Ordinance No. 2022 S-2011, known as “Iwas Siga Ordinance of 2011,” is authored by 1st District Councilor Anthony Peter Crisologo and 2nd District Councilor Gian Carlo Sotto..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20120423met1.html

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