The Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC) and the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ) join the Global Month of Action on Energy in the call to transform our societies and transform our energy systems to fight against climate change.

The Philippines’ recent experience during the worst Habagat rains and super typhoons in the recent months, underscores an already known fact—that countries and the people that are least responsible of climate change are most vulnerable and ill-equipped to adapt its impacts. Thus, now more than ever, it is urgent for the peoples of the least developed countries to act and join the global movement to force these developed countries, including the multinational corporations, to cut their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and perform their responsibilities under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Part of the struggle for climate justice is the demand for accountability from the International Financial Institutions (IFIs), like the International Monetary Bank (IMF), World Bank (WB) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB), for their long history of anti-people policies and market dogmatism, and for their track record of financing climate change-inducing projects like coal and other fossil-based energy projects.

The Filipino people are not unfamiliar with this story.

The Philippine power sector was privatized through the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001 (EPIRA) – the conditionality of loans from the IMF, ADB, and the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC). Contrary to its promises, it merely transferred the ownership, management and control of the industry from government to a few big monopolies whose only intention in acquiring such properties is profit. Moreover, while EPIRA vests upon the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) the task to protect consumer interests, the latter has failed miserably in this task. On the other hand, the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM), which is the heart of the privatization and restructuring program financed by these IFIs and is envisaged to lower rates, has virtually become a mechanism of price manipulation. 

After 12 year, not only do Philippines have the most expensive residential electricity rates and second highest industrial electricity rates in Asia and the Pacific region, but also the privatization of the power industry sped up the ascent of climate change-aggravating energy projects, with these IFIs at the axis of financing.During the implementation of EPIRA, at least four new coal-fired power plants were planned to be built in the Visayas region. Further, the two biggest coal-fired power plants in the country located at Pagbilao, Quezon and Masinloc,  Zambales, both owned by US-based power companies, have undergone capacity expansion. Other non-renewable energy facilities that are targeted for expansion are the Ilijan natural gas-generating facility in Batangas and the Sual coal facility in Pangasinan.The World Bank and the ADB co-financed the coal-fired power plants in Masinloc, Zambales, in Calaca, Batangas and in Naga, Cebu, projects which they heralded as “clean and sustainable.”

Experts say that the power industry is a major contributor to climate change with power plants utilizing fossil fuels such as coal and diesel contributing the highest amount of CO2 emissions to the atmosphere. In this light, it is interesting to note that in the 2012 study the World Resource Institute (WRI), the WB and the ADB ranked number two and three among the top IFI funders of coal in the world, with the total funding of US5.3 billion for 29 coal plant and US3.9 billion for 21 coal plants, respectively. Interestingly, JBIC, one of the three loan grantors behind the power privatization, ranks first.

While these IFIs pretend to help to abate the impacts of climate change, their track records expose their lies.
Today, energy production in the Philippines relies heavily on coal, diesel and natural gas which comprise 64.7 percent of the power generation mix. Combined renewable sources such as hydro, geothermal, wind and solar power is only 35.27 percent of the mix, or a 29.43% difference. 

Fueling this dirty-energy-driven and climate change-contributing scheme are the World Bank-IMF and the ADB, the same institutions that enslaved and drove the peoples of less developed countries, including the Philippines, deeper into debt and mal-development through their structural adjustment programs (SAPs) and loan conditionalities of privatization and market liberalization.

Hence, to reclaim power, the peoples of the global South, including the Philippines, must liberate itself from the clutches of the World Bank-IMF and the ADB, the long-time financers of privatization and dirty energy, and of climate change, asserts PMCJ.

FDC and PMCJ  reiterate their  long-standing demands:

•End of any interference of these IFIs, including the ADB and World Bank-IMF, in the energy sector

;•Redirection of existing dirty energy financing to adaptation and mitigation measures and energy efficiency projects as a form of reparation to the decades of ecological debt owed by the north to the south;

•Financing of renewable energies as one form of restitution for countless years of debt domination that hampered Southern countries capacity to develop alternative technologies and development strategies;

•The sovereign and democratic management and control of funds for mitigation, adaptation and the development of clean, safe and renewable energy; And for the World Bank-IMF, ADB and other similar institutions with a horrible track record to be kept from any form of control and involvement over the disposal and use of these funds;

•Stop to all false solutions such as agro-fuels and carbon trading;

•Rejection of all loans, aid and subsidies for fossil fuel extraction, dirty technologies and exploitation of natural resources that violate our national patrimony and the rights of indigenous peoples;

•An end to imposition of all conditionalities (e.g. privatization, liberalization and deregulation) by IFIs and Northern governments through loans, aid and debt cancellation; and

,•Total and unconditional cancellation and repudiation of debts that have contribute to climate change, and all other illegitimate debts and “obligations” claimed from us by the North and lending institutions.

NO to dirty and harmful energy! NO to WB-IMF and ADB interference!

YES to renewable energy for people and communities! 

YES to power of, by and for the people! ###


October 11, 2013

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