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TUCP warns Petilla of “pimps and whisperers” on power crisis

By TUCP
July 31, 2014

QUEZON CITY – The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) warned Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla to be cautious of vested interests in handling the proposed emergency powers to address the looming energy crisis.

“The TUCP warns that the power emergency of Icot Petilla is now opening doors for salesmen, opportunists and pirates of all stripes peddling very expensive power solutions that will preserve the prerogatives of the private independent generation sector who seemingly willed the power shortage to existence,” said Louie Corral, TUCP executive director.

He said the TUCP received reliable information suggesting that Petilla is being swarmed by some interest groups to offer to President Aquino power solutions that will make people pay more for their electricity.

“We support emergency powers for the President, but it must be based on clear policies of what constitutes “secure power” and what government means as “competitive power rates”. The DOE secretary is now on sifting sands, first he wants to buy generator sets, now, he says he wants to commercially rent power barges for 3 years which will run only for 20 days. Which is which? How much is Juan dela Cruz paying? What is the game plan?” Corral stressed.

He added that the country is faced by a financial triple whammy – as consumers, as taxpayers, and through a damaged economy “that is why TUCP cautions Secretary Petilla to institute a clear, categorical timetable for the consultations that President Aquino directed DOE to undertake during his SONA.”

Corral said Petilla should refrain from scaremongering and giving the President a deadline but rather ensure that consultations are transparent and the policies that are arrived at must be acceptable to the economic cluster of the cabinet, to businessmen and the workers and consumers who will bear the burden. “Maraming aninong gumagalaw at maraming bumubulong na pagkakitaan ang krisis na ito. Kung kaya’t pinag-iingat namin ang butihing kalihim,” he said.

Meanwhile, TUCP spokesperson Alan Tanjusay said the TUCP is prepared to join the process now directed by Aquino to help solve the problem.

“If Secretary Petilla does not make the consultation transparent and time-bound, we will not just have a failure but a failure of governance. The economic legacy of the Aquino administration is what at stake. In bearing the ultimate command responsibility, he must look at a full-options approach to solving the problem rather than just the narrow suggestions being eagerly whispered to his ears,” Tanjusay said.

Tanjusay added that TUCP was the first group to ask Aquino to declare a national emergency on the power sector in April this year. He said they asked for Aquino to establish a presidential task force to address the problem of lack of power and the spiraling power rates.

The TUCP is also proposing to Aquino for government to return to power generation business until there is at least 20% reserve in all island grids.