BACOLOD

Ombion: From oligarchs to state control

Perspective

THAT'S my unsolicited advice to President Rodrigo Duterte vis a vis big water concessionaires who he hit for allegedly amassing so much profit from poor service to water consumers in NCR and then offer the same to Villar-owned Prime Waters Corp.

I salute the president for exposing and resisting the alleged abuses by these big business oligarchs in water industry.

This is in fact long overdue as millions of NCR consumers have long been agonizing from their poor services at high costs.

But his move would just be useless, meaningless if it gives the same to another big business oligarch.

The Villar Prime Waters who is practically in control of a number of water districts in the country must be investigated first for numerous complaints from consumers and civil society organizations among them alleged poor water services, higher water rates, unfair labor practices, and causing the disbandment of water districts unions.

Like the big water concessionaires that Duterte is accusing of alleged exploitation and ravenous practices, the Villars are no different.

The Villars are now using their political and economic muscles to take over the ailing Bacolod water district under the so called joint venture scheme which the district union belied as the scheme is tantamount to its privatization and the mass displacement of its employees and workers and the breakup of its union.

Reports have it that their various businesses in land use conversions, housing, and infrastructures are faced with lots of complaints and questions for conflict of interests as the mother is a senator and heads committee on agriculture and the son is secretary of DPWH, manning billions of state infrastructure projects.

All big oligarchs in this country are in the business of making super profits wherever and whenever possible.

They should be clipped and their ways of acquiring their superwealth should be questioned and investigated.

Duterte should instead retake all strategic utilities especially water, energy, prime lands, steel, transportation, communication, among others under the effective control of the state.

The state has all the resources, talents and skills, and the political power, to directly run these in the spirit of making profit for public service and to generate surplus for modernization and industrialization.

We have the best talented and skilled workers in the world; engineers, scientists, technicians, and technocrats.

This is the only way to end the agonies of our Filipino poor and vulnerable sectors.

Transferring our state strategic assets from one oligarch to another, is missing the popular cries on the ground.

Yes, state control, not privatization, deregulation and liberalization.


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