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Power scammers riding high DIE HARD III Herman Tiu Laurel 05/27/2011

Friday, May 27, 2011

Power scammers riding high

Herman Tiu Laurel
While the nation gets distracted by debates on the Reproductive Health (RH) bill, the oligarchs and their foreign partners continue to ride high on the 10-year-old Electric Power Industry Reform Act (Epira) — responsible for making RP’s electricity rates the highest in Asia and now poised to raise these further to soaring atmospheric heights. The past week alone, three major news items already escaped the public’s attention: First, we have the Energy Regulatory Commission-backed “renewable rates” for solar and wind power.

Passed by an idiotic Congress via Republic Act 9513 or the Renewable Energy Act of 2008 upon the badgering of foreign and local energy lobbyists and the oligarchy-controlled media, the measure is now in the final stages of implementation. With the formulation of the feed-in tariff (FIT) for renewable power that will be transmitted through the National Grid (read “Greed”) Corp. of the Philippine, such a mix of traditional and renewable power sources will definitely spell an increase on our already high generation cost.

Proponents argue that we have to develop renewables sooner or later; but with the premature enforcement of this program when solar and wind are still grossly inefficient in energy conversion, we will be adding to the already exorbitant burden not only of consumers but also of the industrial sector where many companies have left for countries with lower power costs.

Our media, environmentalist NGOs and legislators are either dupes or have been corrupted by various incentives — from direct lobby money to advertising budgets, as well as travel and NGO grants — to still be singing praises for this.
Filipino consumers and industries will be made to subsidize renewable energy development when this is supposed to be shouldered by foreign supplying companies that have tie-ups with local Big Business groups.
I have railed the past two decades against the disinformation spread by mainstream media and foreign-funded environmental NGOs; but even an unlikely voice in the person of World Bank consultant Leonardo Lupano has warned that the National Renewable Energy Board (NREB) overseeing the program and FIT rates “must be very careful in setting installation targets especially for the higher-cost technologies like wind and solar… (as) Spain had to drastically reduce the solar FIT rates and institute caps when 3 GW of solar was installed within one year.”

Lupano adds, “The impact on Spain ’s electricity rates was very high. Korea also experienced similar problems. Even German consumers are complaining that they subsidized the development of solar technology with high FITs, but China (the source of solar panels) is reaping the fruits… Ontario had to resort to every procedural trick in the book to slow down the approval of solar applications. NREB would (thus want) to avoid similar problems in the Philippines…”

But typical of the insensitivity of government bureaucrats feigning blindness to the plunder of power consumers, Bert Dalusong, former head of the NREB technical working group said that “…the P19 per kilowatt hour FIT rate being asked by the renewable energy developers is still cheaper than the price of diesel on the spot market, which could rise to as high as P30 per kWh.” But why compare with diesel when hydro is as low as P1 per kWh, as in Mindanao ’s Agus and Pulangi, and geothermal ranges from P0.92 to P2.31 per kWh?

Second, there is the National Power Corp. (Napocor) May 12 rate hike petition of P0.2759 per kWh for one year, on top of the current P0.0454 per kWh universal charge for missionary electrification for the “off-grid service” in what it claims to be unrecovered P17 billion incurred over the years since Epira was passed. Reports state that the “adjustment will be used to ‘augment current financial requirements and in order to settle pending obligations with fuel and other suppliers which will enable NPC-SPUG (Napocor-Small Power Utilities Group) to shore up its financial situation.’”

What does Napocor think of us consumers, its perennial milking cow and piggy bank? But, as if this wasn’t enough, the state firm also wants to tap “restricted accounts normally used to settle court cases” for bridge financing.

Napocor is barred by a ruling of the Department of Justice from engaging in further borrowings and fund-raising activities such as bond issuances. Despite this, the company says it will even push through with its layoff of 600 to 700 employees, which means more separation pays.

Finally, the third item is thanks to a congresswoman of the “other” Kamag-anak Inc. who has chosen to do her worn-out “Person for Others” bit by generously sharing our hard earned (and even harder budgeted) money to pay for the power subsidies to the poor that they “love.” It appears Dina Abad, Ben Evardone, and some other legislators want to make more previously middle class power consumers join the ranks of the poor by certifying the bill amending the Epira as urgent, extending the lifeline rate paid for by the shrinking middle class (that can hardly afford the current power rates) — scheduled to end on June 26, 2011 — by another 10 years!

Abad, chairman of the House appropriations committee, certainly knows how to appropriate public money, just as her colleagues did in the CodeNGO PeaceBonds scam, and are doing now with the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) con game, and soon, we heard, in the government-funded “volunteer” housing construction program that the said NGO network is wresting away from Gawad Kalinga. Oh, when will we be spared of this Yellow ilk’s “goodness” toward society’s poor? Time to expose all these scammers for good.

(Tune in to Radyo OpinYon, Monday to Friday, 5 to 6 p.m., and Sulo ng Pilipino, Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 6 to 7 p.m. on 1098AM; Talk News TV with HTL, Tuesday, 8 to 9 p.m., with replay at 11 p.m., on GNN, Destiny Cable Channel 8, on “More Power Scams”; visit http://newkatipunero.blogspot.com and http://hermantiulaurel.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/20110527com5.html

Another black eye EDITORIAL 05/27/2011

Another black eye

Click to enlarge
Forget about foreign investments and hopes that big names in international business will bite into Noynoy’s private-public partnership (PPP) scheme.

The recent court decision awarding what appears to be a token payment for the builder of the new airport terminal or Terminal 3 after the government expropriated it, is guaranteed to drive away investors.

The court ruling was obviously tilted in favor of Noynoy who has been clamoring for “just compensation” but which for him, meant taking a huge discount out of the $400 million or so being asked by the Philippine International Air Terminal Corp. (Piatco) consortium. Its foreign partner, the German airport operator Fraport AG, alone is asking $425 million plus interest and damages from the government takeover..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110527com1.html

No Church issue FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 05/27/2011

No Church issue

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
Take religion and God out of the Reproductive Health (RH) bill and it becomes clear that there are no solid arguments against it.

The trouble always starts when religion is injected into the state picture, which really shouldn’t be the case, since the country has a Constitution clearly stating that while religious freedom is a constitutional right, there is that principle of separation of Church and State, which translated, really means that churches of different denominations have no business interfering in the affairs of the state.

What, after all, is really wrong about government providing the public access to contraceptives to enable couples — if such is their choice — to limit the size of their families? The government, through that RH bill, will not be forcing couples to limit the number of children. It will still be the choice and decision of the couples to either take the contraceptives to prevent unwanted pregnancies, or to reject contraceptives and do as they please, by way of having as many babies as they want..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110527com2.html

Good news on Philnico, Enrile C.R.O.S.S.R.O.A.D.S Jonathan De la Cruz 05/27/2011

Good news on Philnico, Enrile

Jonathan De la Cruz
Palace spokesmen should stop whining and start trumpeting the good news. Not just the headline grabbing ones involving “privileged prisoners” and wayward bus drivers or P-Noy’s “love life” as these tend to be too “showbizy” and, worse, trivialize the situation we are in right now. We are in dire straits, at least most of us, and if the Palace handlers cannot get it or wish things away then that is a sure fire formula for trouble. Heck, even the manner the Palace is promoting its Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) elections postponement is less then transparent. We are told that in some closed door meetings, no less than DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo and Peace Process Adviser Ging Deles admitted that the said “initiative” had everything to do with their desire to get the MILF to sign on to some “revised MoA-AD (Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain)” with the postponement as sweetener. Why can’t we debate that if has really been so submitted, for example? Trivializing matters of state and, worse, being opaque about governance are not what people expect from Malacañang, especially from P-Noy and the “Daang Matuwid’” crowd..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110527com4.html

Clarification LETTER 05/27/2011



Dear Editor:
This has reference to your news item of this date attributing to me a statement which questions the qualifications of Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales for the position of Ombudsman.

In fairness to Justice Morales and me, please rectify the inaccurate part of your news report. In particular, I did not question her qualifications for the position of Ombudsman.

To set the record straight, in a speech before the Rotary, I merely specified the ideal qualities of an Ombudsman — moral and physical courage, integrity, loyalty to country and people, and high competence as a lawyer and a manager.

When asked for an ideal age for an applicant, I said he should be between 50 and 60 years because he has to meet the needs of physical strength, wisdom and experience..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110527com6.html

Citizen journalism keeps Syria uprising alive FEATURE 05/27/2011

Citizen journalism keeps Syria uprising alive


BEIRUT — Defying a state-imposed media blackout, Syria’s citizen journalists are keeping protest coverage alive, in a country that until only a few months ago barred access to social media networks.

“With the efficiency of the networks that were developed over the past few weeks, through which we can now see into every town and village in Syria, there is no way the regime can stop information or footage, videos, and images from coming out,” said Syrian activist Ausama Monajed.

“The role of the new media is extremely vital. It is bridging the gap between what activists are doing on the ground and the classic media.”

Monajed runs The Syrian Revolution News Round-up, a daily briefing on protests, clashes and killings using eyewitness accounts and leaked footage taken by mobile phones of protesters that is authenticated to the best of their ability.

The flawlessly written briefing, in English, Arabic and French, is then emailed to rights groups and the international media..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110527com7.html

DoJ eyes Army deployment in Bilibid Prisons By Benjamin B. Pulta 05/27/2011

DoJ eyes Army deployment in Bilibid Prisons

By Benjamin B. Pulta 05/27/2011
Army personnel may soon be deployed to supplement guard duties at the New Bilibid Prisons (NBP), a senior justice official announced yesterday.

The Department of Justice (DoJ) fact-finding committee which investigated the illegal furlough of former Batangas Gov. Jose Antonio Leviste is exploring the possibility of tapping the Philippine Army to help provide prison security.

Justice Undersecretary Francisco Baraan III, who heads the probe panel, said that the reforms will also include changing or reassignment of prison guards.

“We were discussing the possibility of having some members of the Army to guard the NBP in the meantime by way of adding to the security of the NBP now,” Baraan said..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110527hed1.html

Enrile tells DSWD: Account for CCT funds prior to extra budget OK By Charlie V. Manalo 05/27/2011

Enrile tells DSWD: Account for CCT funds prior to extra budget OK

By Charlie V. Manalo 05/27/2011

Cagayan Rep. Jack Enrile said the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) should be made to account on how the funds allotted for the government’s conditional cash transfer (CCT) program are being disbursed before making any increase in the project’s funding.

Enrile also dared Malacañang to require DSWD to fully disclose how the program has been implemented thus far and provide a full accounting of the funds before it increases the CCT budget from P21 billion to P23 billion.

Last week, the Tribune exposed that the DSWD had increased its approved budget for CCT of P21 billion by P2 billion to P23 billion, without passing through Congress and with Malacañang admitting that Budget Secretary Butch Abad was looking for funds to add to the DSWD budget.

The lawmaker noted that while the CCT program involves billions of pesos, the DSWD has yet to prove that CCT funds are being spent for its intended purpose..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110527hed3.html

Noynoy goes to Thailand, spends P4.5 million for trip By Aytch S. de la Cruz 05/27/2011

Noynoy goes to Thailand, spends P4.5 million for trip

By Aytch S. de la Cruz 05/27/2011

President Aquino yesterday left for a two-day “ceremonial visit” in Thailand where he is expected to make a pitch for investments that would further boost his public-private partnership (PPP) programs as well as foster cooperation in agriculture, disaster management preparations, and in combating drug-trafficking.

Aquino, in his departure speech, said he is also scheduled to meet with his counterpart, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, to discuss measures that would further strengthen the country’s bilateral relations especially in the political, economic and environmental fronts.

In 2010, Aquino said Thailand has been the country’s ninth largest trading partner and he is aiming to further develop this partnership by urging Thai business groups to invest in the country that could be translated into more jobs and better economy for the Philippines..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20110527nat6.html

Drilon pessimistic over plea reversal By Angie M. Rosales 05/27/2011

Pro-RH lawmakers attempt to railroad RH bill

By Gerry Baldo 05/27/2011

A lawmaker opposed to the Reproductive Health (RH) bill yesterday accused advocates of trying to tamper with the number of the controversial measure to make it appear that it is was filed ahead of the Pro-Life bill — Protection of the Unborn.

According to Parañaque Rep. Roilo Golez the number of the RH bill was “96” and that someone was trying to change the number to “03” so that it would be ahead of the Pro-Life bill.

“There was in my belief an apparent attempt to tamper with the RH bill number from 96 to 03, so that it would be ahead of my prolife House Bill 13 or the Protection of the Unborn,” Golez said.

The attempt, however, failed after warning House officials that he will filed a case against those responsible for the anomaly before the Office of the Ombudsman..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20110527nat1.html

Ombudsman clears Lim, others over Vitas Slaughterhouse takeover case By Pat C. Santos 05/27/2011

Ombudsman clears Lim, others over Vitas Slaughterhouse takeover case

By Pat C. Santos 05/27/2011

The Office of the Ombudsman has dismissed the criminal and administrative cases filed against Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim, five other city hall officials and 25 police officers in connection with the takeover of the Vitas slaughterhouse in 2008.

In a resolution, graft investigation and prosecution officer I Michelle Villabesa said Lim “acted in good faith” and that in unilaterally rescinding the contract of lease and taking over the possession and operation of Vitas slaughterhouse, the mayor was “only exercising the rights and remedies available to the city ...pursuant to the contract of lease and compromise agreement for the protection of the city of Manila from loss of income and revenues against delinquent debtors and taxpayers such as Dealco.”

The Dealco, owned by the family of Manila Councilor Dennis Alcoreza, operated the slaughterhouse from 2001 to 2008 through a contract entered into with then Mayor Lito Atienza in 1999 but the city government said Dealco defrauded the city of at least P1.2 billion in monthly revenues during its years of operation, aside from not paying rentals amounting to P2.9 million, real estate taxes worth almost P5 million and P46 million representing the city’s one percent share from its gross income..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20110527met4.html

BIR slaps tax evasion raps on two former GSIS execs 05/27/2011

BIR slaps tax evasion raps on two former GSIS execs

The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) yesterday filed before the Department of Justice tax evasion charges against two former members of the Board of Trustees of the state pension fund Government Service Insurance System (GSIS).

BIR Commissioner Kim Jacinto-Henares told a press conference that Esperanza Ocampo and Mario Ramirez were accused of committing acts constituting violations of Sections 254 and 255 of the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997.

Henares said Ocampo was charged with attempting to evade or defeat payment of taxes and failure to file annual Income Tax Returns (ITRs) and to pay tax for taxable years 2004 to 2010 amounting to P13,783,483.54, including surcharges and interests..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20110527met1.html

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