(This statement was read by FDC President Ana Maria R. Nemenzo during the public hearing on Napocor’s rate increase petition on 16 December 2004. After reading the statement, FDC members and other consumer groups walked out of the hearing to dramatize their protest.)

At the onset, the Freedom from Debt Coalition wishes to express our utmost disappointment over the Commission’s decision to deny all Oppositors’ Motions for Reconsideration

The Commission’s cavalier style of handling consumers’ points in their respective motions indicates how little this Commission values consumer participation in the regulatory process.

More than 50 oppositors and intervenors filed their respective Motions for Reconsiderations and Municipal Resolutions opposing the P0.98/kWh provisional authority. By issuing an omnibus denial of all motions, the Commission refuses to acknowledge the validity of any point raised by consumers.

FDC and other consumer organizations would like to manifest our growing impatience over the inaction of this Commission to protect consumer interests. Consumers nationwide will continue to mass up and take drastic actions for continued failure of this Commission to protect our rights, as what we witnessed during the two major protest actions on August 26 and November 10.

Consumers are prepared to do it again if this Commission proves to be a protector of private interest, rather than that of public welfare.

FDC reiterates its opposition to the petition: we believe that a rate increase should be the least option for NPC and PSALM. Instead of hiking power rates, the government should decisively solve NPC’s fiscal hemorrhage by canceling onerous contracts with independent power producers.

On the other hand, we harbor no illusion that consumers can get any relief from this Commission. Time and again we find ourselves in the losing side of the battle during hearings of this Commission.

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