‘Looming power shortage’ mere hype
This is a reaction to the Inquirer article “Looming energy shortage” by Calixto Chikiamco, which appeared in the Talk of the Town section last Oct. 19. There is no looming energy shortage. The article services the interests of foreign energy multinationals which Chikiamco is beholden to. These multinationals want to create a pseudo-crisis so they can come in on the pretext of rescuing us from an energy crisis and justify power rate increases. The goal is to instill fear so we can agree to their “solutions.” A power shortage implies higher power rates. Similar “power shortage” articles appeared in other newspapers, hinting that there is a concerted multimillion PR project to impress on the public mind a power shortage in the making.
Chikiamco is a pro-Cha-cha advocate who wants to delete a constitutional provision limiting foreign equity share to 40 percent and to allow his foreign friends in the power sector to own as much as 100 percent of company shares. This obviously would result in foreigners controlling key economic sectors, including politically sensitive utilities and industries like energy and mining. Foreigners want to buy agricultural lands on a massive scale for conversion into industrial zones, which will deny us of food security and force us to avail ourselves of expensive food imports.
Chikiamco has showed his true colors, saying, “By attracting more foreign investors into the country, especially into key sectors like public utilities, we would give foreign governments the interest and incentive to make sure there is peace and stability in the region, unimpeded access to our maritime waters and a rules-based conduct in accessing our seas and other natural resources.” Chikiamco wants to give away the Filipino on a silver platter.
Power generation increase is actually being addressed. There are expansion projects in Zambales, Pagbilao and Quezon (and these will be completed before the summer of 2015). There are also plans for the expansion of diesel and bunker fuel power plants by the National Power Corp. and the private sector in Luzon and the Visayas (Cebu, Panay), as well as of coal plants (Cebu, Iloilo). Moreover, private power generators in Luzon and enterprises with their own huge diesel generators have standby power reserves government can tap for sudden shortages. This includes the government’s Malaya geothermal and Ilijan natural gas which have a combined capacity of 1,800 megawatts.
Chikiamco spoke for the Americans when he said that expanded foreign ownership is “in the interest of national security,” to keep China at bay in the “control of strategic parts of the economy.” He fails to realize “foreign ownership” includes the Chinese. He mouths the Americans’ fear of China’s threat as an economic rival.
—BERNIE V. LOPEZ,
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