With the forthcoming inauguration of president-elect Rodrigo Duterte, research group IBON and other co-covenors of the multisectoral alliance People Opposed to Warrantless Electricity Rates (POWER) conducted a consultation to draft a national and pro-people energy agenda.
The consultation, held last June 20, 2016 at the IBON Conference hall was facilitated by AGHAM (Advocates of Science and Technology for the People). Participants included co-covenors Kalikasan-People’s Network for the Environment, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan-National Capital Region (BAYAN-NCR), and Bayan Muna, as well other concerned groups and individuals who shared their knowledge and presented suggestions in the improvement of POWER’s proposed energy agenda.
IBON said that the consultation aimed to develop a doable pro-people energy policy for the incoming administration. The draft points focused on the transformation of the national energy framework through the comprehensive review of Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA), stopping the privatization of power assets, strengthening consumer participation in the energy regulatory commission, and ensuring government control and national sovereignty in the power industry, among others.
POWER was founded in 2002 in response to the privatization and deregulation of the Philippine power industry which led to consumers bearing the burden of questionable high power rates passed onto them by profit-seeking power companies. The alliance continues its movement to end the power monopoly and nationalize the power sector in order to provide affordable, sustainable and efficient energy to the Filipino people.
Data presented by AGHAM shows that the Philippines has one of the highest electrical tariffs in Asia next to Singapore. From 2011 to 2016, the country’s power rates amounted to US$ 0.22/kwh compared to other ASEAN Nations with only US$ 0.13/kwh in 2015. This was contrary to cheaper electricity rates promised by proponents of EPIRA or Republic Act (RA) 9136 in 2001, which led to the massive privatization and deregulation of the country’s power industry.
The 12-point energy policy agenda will be presented together with the other proposed pro-people socio-economic policies and recommendations to the Duterte administration, leaders of the Congress and the peace panel at the National People’s Summit on June 29 at the University of the Philippines Diliman Film Center.