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Consolidating Consensus, Advancing People’s Struggles and Building Alternatives
The announcement made by Rep. Reynaldo Umali, chair of the House Committee on Energy, abruptly ending the House hearings on the review of Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) completely eliminated all possibility of amending, much less repealing this law by the current Congress despite strong public clamor.
Citing the strong opposition from national big business groups such as the Management Association of the Philippines ( MAP) , Employers’ Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP), inancial Executives Institute of the Philippines ( FEIP), and foreign chambers of commerce like the American Chamber of Commerce , European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Philippines, and the Korean Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines to amending EPIRA, Umali was blatant enough to tell the public that the Aquino-LP majority in the committee considered the interests of the power oligarchs and the foreign corporate chambers much more important than the interests of the consuming public and the small and medium businesses.
The Freedom from Debt Coalition ( FDC ) strongly condemns this decision as a betrayal of public interest , a travesty of democracy and a complete disregard of the substantial engagements made by FDC and other consumer and sectoral groups as well as academic experts in all public hearings on EPIRA called bythe Department of Energy, the Energy Regulatory Commission and the House and Senate committees convened for the same purpose for a period of more than two years.
In said hearings, FDC and allied groups have presented evidence-based and scholarly studies showing the fundamental flaws of EPIRA which enabled power monopolies to play, capture and distort the market and extract unbelievable superprofits from the consumers and small and medium businesses and evade hundreds of millions of taxes payable to the government.
FDC also cannot but suspect that such House Committee decision is also motivated to pander to the big election funders from the corporate world – local and multinational , as the 2016 election draws nearer.
FDC demands the continuation of the House hearing and to make the process more inclusive . We demand from the leadership of both the House and the Senate to expedite the hearing process and hear the clamor of the people not only to amend but repeal EPIRA.