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P7.11M solves Mindanao crisis DIE HARD III Herman Tiu Laurel 05/14/2012

Monday, May 14, 2012

P7.11M solves Mindanao crisis

Herman Tiu Laurel
Last May 9, state-run National Power Corp. (Napocor) completed its fast-tracked rehabilitation of the Pulangi IV hydroelectric plant in Bukidnon, allowing it to generate power to its installed capacity of 250 megawatts (MW) from half of that before. That the rehabilitation was started only mid-April this year at the height of the Mindanao power crisis shows government’s hurried response to the uproar from Mindanaoans who have suffered the crippling effects of the long blackouts — outages that were deemed deliberate.

As a result, Mindanao’s economy suffered billions in losses, estimated by some to reach P60 billion, with government’s Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management (Psalm) Corp. claiming a loss of up to P15 billion.

To wit, the estimated power shortfall was anywhere between 100 to 150 MW. The Pulangi rehab, meanwhile, costing only P7.11 million, has already restored at least 100 MW of installed electric capacity to Mindanao. The question is, why didn’t the Department of Energy (DoE) order this rehab earlier when this new administration took over in 2010? Was it negligence or plain sabotage?

If Pulangi IV alone had been maintained properly at such a minimal cost early on, with the rest of the Agus-Pulangi system also rehabilitated two years prior, there would not have been any Mindanao power crisis to speak of.

Instead, what BS Aquino III, his DoE officials, as well as politicians such as Sen. Serge Osmeña have repeatedly claimed for the past two years was that a power crisis in Mindanao can only be solved by installing new coal-fired and other power plants.

Sen. Edgardo Angara, author of the RE (Renewable Energy) law in turn has repeatedly claimed that solar and wind power for Mindanao is the answer, hiding the fact that his RE law charges P20 per kilowatt-hour (kwh) for solar and wind, compared to hydro’s P2 per kwh.

In all, these officials are acting more as lobbyists, with Osmeña calling for the privatization of Agus-Pulangi and other hydroelectric resources on behalf of the oligarchs with DoE officials siding with the coal and mining lobby; and with Angara rooting for his RE program in favor of foreign energy companies that would have to be in partnership with the usual suspects, i.e. the power oligarchs, who are already in RE projects.

What is made clear from these historical facts is that national policy on this matter has been ruled solely by lobby interests working through the entire political structure. Not a single one of these officials have acted with responsibility and concern for the genuine interest of the people of Mindanao and the nation as a whole; thus, leading to the situation today that has produced the “highest power cost in Asia” devastating our industries and quality of life.

Last Saturday evening, on our Destiny Cable GNN program, Jojo Borja of Iligan Light and Power and lawyer Homobono Adaza reported on how the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) is again trying to pull a fast one on the public.

As we wrote in this space last week, they recounted how notices of a crucial ERC hearing on the case of the Maximum Allowable Price (MAP) petition of the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) arrived suspiciously late — on a Sunday afternoon at legal counsel Adaza’s residence, less than a day before the hearing, and, for petitioner Borja, on the Friday before the Monday hearing.

Despite the many underhanded moves, we’re glad that the Meralco petition was postponed anew, saving the power firm’s 6 million consumers from an early approval of a very onerous power rate base that is 100 percent over what the company should be charging for distribution. The present rate, by the way, is based on what Borja says are several instances of Meralco equipment overpricing by as much as 900 percent!

Mang Naro Lualhati, octogenarian consumer activist, who works in cooperation with the team of Borja, Adaza, Butch Junia, Alan Paguia, Ferdie Pasion, and many others, laid the basis for the case that Borja and Adaza are now locking horns with Meralco over at the Court of Appeals (CA); thus, constraining the ERC from trying to resolve Meralco’s petition in its sala at this time.

Furthermore, Lualhati has filed a motion for reconsideration on the ERC’s dismissal of his opposition to Meralco’s MAP of around P1.60/kwh, which, according to the accountant-oppositor — aided by Borja’s facts, figures, and documents — should only be P0.90/kwh.

If Lualhati, Borja, et al. will prevail in this epic struggle, they can win for Meralco customers as much as 50 percent of the distribution charges they pay, not including several more if other issues, such as the Performance Based Regulation scheme and its 17 percent rate of return vs the old Return-on-Rate Base’s 12 percent, are eventually dealt with and overturned.

More importantly, another fact was highlighted in our program that should make everyone stop and take the predatory power victimization of millions of Filipinos very seriously. Says Borja, “To this day, Iligan Light and Power is charging only P5.50 per kwh retail on a customer base of 60,000 electricity connections while Meralco is charging P11 to P12 per kwh on a customer base of 6 million electricity connections.”

Whatever happened to the principle of “economies-of-scale,” where the bigger the market and operation of an enterprise, the lower its prices for products and services should be? Well, given that the scale of the losses from the Mindanao power crisis, amounting to billions of pesos, was solved by a mere P7.11-million rehab project, we should know that these power pirates are always up to no good.

(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., this May 12 on “Malampaya plunder” with Rep. Neri Colmenares; visit http://newkatipunero.blogspot.com for our articles plus TV and radio archives)

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20120514com5.html

China test a gross failure for Noynoy EDITORIAL05/14/2012

China test a gross failure for Noynoy

Click to enlarge
Noynoy should put away his US-made blinders and look objectively on the root of the longest and the most serious standoff ever with China over claims on the Scarborough Shoal.

The view from China, based on the many commentaries that seem to have grown in numbers and intensity the past few days among official newspapers which are deemed mouthpieces of the government, is that the incident was provoked by the administration of Noynoy by introducing a military vessel, the BRP Gregorio del Pilar, the country’s first true post-Second World War Philippine Navy ship, which was a retired US Coast Guard cutter, in the area.

Last April, BRP Gregorio del Pilar intercepted Chinese fishing boats and alleged that these were intruding into Philippine territory despite the fact that since 1997, based on accounts of China newspapers and Filipino fishermen, there was calm, although uneasy, in the area shared by fishermen not only among Filipinos and Chinese but also among Vietnamese and Taiwanese fishers..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20120514com1.html

Anti-large dam activist gunned down

Anti-large dam activist gunned down

Another activist was killed by an unidentified gunman, May 9 at around 6:15 p.m. at Palma Kibawe village in Bukidnon, Northern Mindanao, according to human rights group Karapatan.

Cabal was an active leader of Task Force Save Pulangi (TFSP), which is campaigning against the construction of a hydroelectric dam in Pulangi River that threatens the integrity of the ecosystem and would displace peasant and indigenous people’s communities along the said river.

“We strongly condemn the killing of Mr. Cabal, an environmental activist who consistently fought for the rights of the community over their water resources,” Clemente Bautista, national coordinator of environmental group Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment, said in a statement.

Records from the Task Force-Justice for Environmental Defenders revealed that there have been 13 cases of killings of environmental activists under the Aquino administration. Nine of such cases happened in Mindanao, including the murder of tribal leader Jimmy Liguyon and Italian priest Fr. Fausto “Pops” Tentorio..... MORE


URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2012/05/12/anti-large-dam-activist-gunned-down/

Uncle Sam fabricates crimes due to political agenda - Bout

Uncle Sam fabricates crimes due to political agenda - Bout

Convicted arms trafficker Victor Bout told RT in an exclusive interview his case is purely political. Bout says his false conviction exposes America's justice system as one of a police state on the brink of dictatorship.

Bout, who continues to maintain his innocence, is serving 25 years for conspiring to kill US citizens and sell arms to Colombian militants.

This week, it was decided that Bout will be sent from a New York prison to a super-maximum security prison, despite his trial judge recommending medium-security confinement..... MORE


URL: http://rt.com/usa/news/viktor-bout-american-justice-140/

Facebook co-founder renounces US citizenship on the eve of IPO

Facebook co-founder renounces US citizenship on the eve of IPO

Eduardo Saverin will be doing a lot of long-distance poking from now on — and probably won't be giving the thumbs-up “like” to Uncle Sam. The billionaire co-founder of Facebook, Inc. has renounced his US citizenship.

Saverin, 30, forfeited his US citizenship back in August, Bloomberg News has learned. The maneuver isn’t all that magnificently out of the ordinary, though. According to a recent report from the US Internal Revenue Service that RT reported on earlier this year, Americans have been renouncing their citizenship in record numbers.

In 2011 alone, at least 1,788 Americans officially renounced their US citizenship—more than the tallies for 2007, 2008 and 2009 combined..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://rt.com/usa/news/facebook-us-citizenship-saverin-051/

Empty and unavailing CROSSROADS Jonathan De la Cruz 05/14/2012

Empty and unavailing

Jonathan De la Cruz
It is good that the Philippines and China, as Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario advised, are talking again and are trying to find “temporary solutions” to the ongoing standoff over the Scarborough Shoal which has taken more time than necessary to dissipate. Del Rosario is talking about “disengaging without losing face” which was what this column and other concerned citizens have been trying to advise since this dispute got unduly hyped mainly by clumsy, undiplomatic moves by some senior administration officials resulting in confusing their Chinese counterparts and moved us closer to the brink. No less than Palace spokesman Edwin Lacierda and to a certain extent, Del Rosario himself, have committed such unforgivable blunders.

We said then and we are saying so again: There is no substitute for quiet, diplomatic measures to lower the decibel of the rhetoric and discuss ways of “saving face.” We even pointed out that we should not have sent our warship, BRP Gregorio del Pilar, as we engaged some of the Chinese fishing boats in the first instance. And right before we withdrew the Del Pilar and issued our “sovereignty claim” we should have at the same time rushed to the negotiating table and discussed things over with the Chinese..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20120514com4.html

No China sanctions, Malacaang insists By Fernan J. Angeles 05/14/2012

No China sanctions, Malacanang insists

By Fernan J. Angeles 05/14/2012

President Aquino continues to take a hard-line position on China as he brushed off what many considers as an unofficial trade sanction on the country in the pull out of Chinese travel bookings to the country and the impounding of Philippine bananas in Chinas ports.

The government said yesterday it was working to resolve mass delays in Philippine fruit exports to China, stressing that the Chinese decision to impose strict standards on banana exports was not related to a tense standoff between the two countries over disputed maritime territory.

Philippine fruit export leaders have been quoted as saying that shipments, especially bananas, were rotting in Chinese ports because pests had been discovered in some produce, prompting stricter quarantine inspections..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20120514hea5.html

RP’s Viloria beats Mexican to retain WBO title 05/14/2012

RP’s Viloria beats Mexican to retain WBO title

World Boxing Organization (WBO) flyweight champion Brian Viloria gained revenge over Mexico’s Omar Niño Romero yesterday, winning by a technical knockout to retain his title in a hard-fought bout.

The victory earned him presidential congratulations with his manager eyeing a unification bout with the WBA flyweight champ in the future.

“Congratulations to our ‘Hawaiian Punch’ Brian Viloria for winning his match,” deputy presidential spokesman Abigail Valte said..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20120514hea7.html

DA, NIA to help farmers recover from crop damage by storms By Pat C. Santos 05/14/2012

DA, NIA to help farmers recover from crop damage by storms

By Pat C. Santos 05/14/2012

As the rainy season nears, the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) have assured farmers of assistance should storms destroy their crops.

At a Manila forum, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said they have prepared seeds of palay, corn and vegetables in their regional offices for free distribution to farmers who will be affected by storms..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20120514nat3.html

Ombudsman reactivates environmental team By Arlie O. Calalo 05/14/2012

Ombudsman reactivates environmental team

By Arlie O. Calalo 05/14/2012

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales has reactivated the anti-graft office’s environmental team of investigators and prosecutors as its renewed its commitment under a memorandum of agreement (MoA) it forged with the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) in 2004.

Carpio-Morales in a statement emailed to the Tribune explained that its move was part of its desire to implement all environmental laws to the letter.

“Pursuant to our commitment to address the need to conserve, protect and restore our life support systems through the proper implementation or enforcement of existing environmental laws, there is a need to reconstitute our environment team,” she said..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20120514nat5.html

BI arrest American fugitive wanted in Alaska 05/14/2012

BI arrest American fugitive wanted in Alaska

Immigration agents arrested recently an American fugitive wanted for attempting to rape a minor in the US.

Russel Ree Henriks was arrested in Barangay Fairview, Baguio City by operatives from the bureau’s fugitive search unit (FSU).

Immigration Commissioner Ricardo David said Henriks was arrested on the strength of a warrant order that the BI board of commissioners issued against the American.

 He is presently detained at the BI detention center in Bicutan, Taguig pending his deportation to the US.
.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20120514met4.html

P200K reward up for heads of suspects in twin slays By Arlie O. Calalo 05/14/2012

P200K reward up for heads of suspects in twin slays

By Arlie O. Calalo 05/14/2012

Caloocan City Mayor Enrico “Recom” Echiverri has offered a P200,000 reward to anybody who can help in arresting the perpetrators of a robbery-slay last Saturday morning that led to the death of a 51-year-old woman and her minor daughter.

A visibly enraged Echiverri announced the reward offer even as he ordered the local police force to conduct a thorough investigation in an effort to identify the two suspects who quickly fled the scene after the incident.

Senior Supt. Jude Wilson Santos, city police chief, identified the fatalities as Faith Jaena and her daughter Ressa, 15, both residents of Block 35, Lot 4, Palmera Spring 2, Barangay 173..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20120514met3.html

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