By Ali G. Macalabang
After their success in pushing for the passage of Rice Tarrification Law (RTL) that makes life harder for farmers in the face of unregulated influx importation, oligarchs are now moving for the privatization of the Agus-Pulangi Hydropower Complexes (APHC).
Such sinister plan has not been publicized until David Tauli, a fellow alumnus of MSU-Marawi main campus, sent me a portion of their resolution expressing strong opposition to the proposal. The proposal appears in pursuit of R.A. 9136, more known as Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) of 2001.
Tauli serves as vice president for Northern Mindanao of the Lanao Power Consumers Federation (LAPOCOF), the first concerned group to express objection to the proposal initiated last December by the Department of Energy (DoE) on instigation of the oligarchs-filled Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management (PSALM).
He called on the Mindanao Development Authority, the Bangsamoro autonomous government, local government units (LGUs) and other concerned groups in Mindanao to come up with similar resolutions that should be taken up directly with President Duterte to prevent a sinister consequence.
Presently, he said, the Pulangi Hydropower Plant in Bukid has the cheapest electric rate in the country, and putting it under oligarchs-driven private companies from government ownership and control will be adverse for consumers.
The LAPOCOF resolution cited the privatization of the Mt. Apo geothermal power plant in 2015, in which the rates of the MAGPP were “unilaterally increased by the PSALM from 2.85 pesos per kWh to 5.18 pesos per kWh.” (NOTE: The Electric Cooperative in North Cotabato is now charging some P10 per KWH.)
The LAPOCOF call for public backing will be an acid test for the BARMM and MinDA leaderships, both entities that are in frontline of fighting for the general welfare of Mindanao people.
BARMM and MinDA leaderships as well as provincial and city government units and regional development councils in Mindanao should unanimously oppose the plan before it will be agreed upon in black and white – something that will be more difficult to remedy.
Cohesion for COVID-19 preventive strides in BARMM
BARMM Education Minister Mohagher Iqbal, in a webinar sponsored Wednesday by UNICEF, assured he will bring to the Bangsamoro leadership attention calls for cohesion in implementing measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 pandemic in the autonomous region.
At the webinar, Iqbal asserted his ministry’s stride in doing the “best” options to safeguard schools constituents – students, parents and teachers – from direct exposure to the global virus.
On that premise, the Philippine Muslim Today news informed Iqbal about an instance in Masiu, Lanao del Sur where hundreds of village people converged recently for oath-taking into the United Bangsamoro Justice Party and were seated closely with one another, with some not wearing face mass or face shields.
Participants in the Masiu were all adults, who naturally have children schooling. If they got infected by the virus, their children at home would be next carriers.
The PMT conveyed information on the non-observance of standard protocols evidenced by some photos to specific concerned authorities in BARMM purposely for them to come up with an advisory discouraging a repeat of the flimsy event. But no advisory has been issued up to press time.
Sec. Carlito Galvez Jr., chief implementer of national protocols on Coronavirus has recently acknowledged BARMM as one of regions in the country providing relief goods and services to regional constituents.
But the good citation was undermined by the contrary stance in Masiu.
It is weird to see BARMM agencies exerting efforts to prevent viral spread while some officials are tolerating field events violating basic protocols. The trend is like many dancing cha-cha, while others render tango steps – a trend tantamount to wasting substantial energy and resources.
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