No privatization drive of Agus-Pulangi braced-A A +A
Sunday, July 15, 2012
THE campaign for the no privatization of the Agus-Pulangi hydropower complexes gained more strength as women and children in Mindanao, including local government in the province of Misamis Oriental, are getting more involved in supporting the opposition of the proposed selling of the two complexes.
Irene M. Santiago, chief executive officer of Mindanao Commission on Women (MCW), told reporters on Thursday that access to electricity is crucial to women's productive roles.
Santiago, during the launch of the Pipol's Power in Cagayan de Oro, said Mindanao women are breaking their silence and are asserting their right to be heard on the issue of power in the region.
"Electricity is a public utility and a basic need that should not be traded like any other commodity," Santiago said.
Agus hydropower plant in Lanao del Sur has seven units generating a total of 700 megawatts (MW), while Pulangi hydropower plant in Bukidnon generates 255 MW.
The two hydro complexes supply 52 percent of Mindanao's power needs which was supposed to be up for sale in 2011 to private institutions.
The group said the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2006 (Epira) is an epic failure since it did not reduce power costs as stipulated in the objectives of the said law.
Under the Epira law, one of the three objectives is to cut the high cost of power in the Philippines. However, increases were lately passed on to consumers in Luzon and Visayas.
Earlier reports said the Department of Energy recommended to Congress to review and amend the Epira law for deferment of the sale of the two hydropower complexes for its unfulfilled promises.
For its part, the Provincial Board of Misamis Oriental passed a resolution in April expressing its opposition to the privatization, copies of which were sent to Energy department, Department of Interior and Local Government and Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA).
The resolution aimed to gain support from all the provinces in Mindanao against the said privatization. (Abigail Chee Kee Malalis)
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on July 16, 2012.