15 November 2012
Members of Freedom from Debt Coalition trooped to the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) at Ortigas Center in Pasig City today to demand the government to review the ERC’s mandate and performance, investigate its decisions favoring the big power players, and investigate ERC officials via a lifestyle check.
Gloria Santos, Spokesperson of women’s group KUMPAS, said, “ Over the past few months, the consumers have been subjected to a series of electricity rate increases, most of which were allowed without any consideration of its possible impact on the people and the economy. It is alarming to even think if the Commission is hostaged by corporate interests.”
The protest coincided with the Commission’s hearing of Meralco’s Maximum Average Price (MAP) application for 2013, wherein oppositions to the application were dismissed based on technicalities.
Santos, a teacher by profession, asserted “Considering the ERC’s mandate to ‘regulate’ the power industry, its rash decisions of approving rate increase applications, we believe that ERC is no longer upholding the public’s interest but is instead favoring corporate greed. This year alone, the consumers were subjected to more than 16 rate adjustments in favor of the power industry’s Big Players.”
Wilmer Sampaga of the Katarungan – Pasig explained that with the recent imposition of an updated Bill Deposit Charge, “ERC has kept mum on the public’s interests and even defended Meralco by saying that the public should expect the increase as it was done yearly.” He then asked, “Bakit ang bagal ng ERC kapag tungkol sa interes naming mga consumer? Pero kapag para sa Meralco, mabilis pa sila sa alas-kuwatro”
“The ERC has consistently represented the interests of big business in the pursuit of profit at the expense of consumers like us. It is in this light, that we demand that the ERC must be subjected to the scrutiny of the ‘Matuwid na Daan’ where the people are the supposed bosses of government,” Sampaga said.
Santos announced that the demonstration in front of the ERC offices is a part of their series of protests leading to a National Day of Action in November 22 where they expect members of their coalition to hold mass actions in more than 60 sites across the archipelago.-30-