Thursday, May 06, 2010

Party list AHON to probe high power rates

Dante Francis Ang 2nd, AHON’s first nominee.

MANILA, Philippines - Party list group AHON Pinoy, if elected in the May 10 elections, will work in Congress to have an independent commission probe deep into the reason why Philippine electricity rates and prices are so steep—higher even than those in the United States, its leaders said Thursday.

Dante Francis Ang 2nd, AHON’s first nominee, said that previous investigations—by both the House and the Senate and by the Energy Regulatory Commission—all failed to yield the truth behind the high electricity prices.

They did not yield practical steps that should be taken immediately to address the problem.

This is because, the AHON chief nominee said, those involved in initiating and serving as experts in these probes, with notable exceptions, all come from institutions that are the key players in the Philippine power industry.

Ang added that he would push, if he became the AHON Pinoy congressman, for an investigative commission composed of Filipinos steeped in power-industry expertise who are not beholden to any of the ruling forces of the industry, including the government corporations.

He would seek the inclusion in the investigative commission of overseas Filipino workers in North America, Europe and other continents who are energy-industry professionals.

AHON Pinoy is devoted to the welfare of the workers and their families.

Among its programs are collateral-free loans of up to P1 million for the OFW and their families so they can start businesses and avail of an affordable housing scheme and a study now-pay later plan for the workers’ children who are entering college.

Ang said that it was wrong for the administration to decide in February to leave it to the Energy Regulatory Commission to determine if the industry players were manipulating prices while the country faces the El Niño phenomenon that is causing problems for the power industry.

He added that even Malacañang spokesman Ricardo Saludo had agreed that the price manipulation of electricity prices exposed by Governor Jose Salceda of Albay province might be true.

Price manipulation, the AHON Pinoy nominee said, and other “mysteries” in the electricity industry need to be completely laid open for all to see.

“High energy cost is a key deterrent to Philippine economic growth and progress,” Ang noted. “It makes doing business here more expensive than in our neighboring countries. It prevents expansive job creation.”

“High electricity costs make our OFW families suffer,” he said.

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