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Consolidating Consensus, Advancing People’s Struggles and Building Alternatives
June 19, 2016
The Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC) strongly urges the City Council of Batangas to deny the application for local clearance that will commence the construction of a new coal-fired power plant in Batangas City.
In particular, FDC asks Mr. Gerry Dela Roca, the Chairperson of the Land Use Committee, to lead the vote against the application for the construction of two boiler units of the new coal plant at 300MW each. The said project was the main target of the 10,000-strong mobilization against the coal energy and plants held last May 4 in Batangas City and as part of the global campaign to Break Free from Fossil Fuels.
FDC, together with other environmental groups, have been asserting that the so-called “clean coal” being peddled by coal energy adherents is, in fact, a dirty lie. It has already been proven that coal-fired plants are detrimental to both the environment and the health of those living in its vicinity. If the national government is serious with its commitment to reduce by 70% the country’s carbon emissions by 2030, it should begin by pressuring local governments to reject any future applications to build new coal-fired power plants.
FDC also reminds the City Council of its legal, social, and moral duty to protect the rights of the people, and more importantly, to protect the planet from utter destruction.
The recent Executive Order (EO) No. 206 in 2016 signed by outgoing President Benigno Aquino III that calls for a comprehensive review of the country’s energy policy in order to cut back on coal and ensure the shift to renewable energy should be an indication for the Batangas City government to cut down its dependence on coal and encourage a just transition to clean and sustainable renewable energy.
FDC stands in solidarity with the citizens of Batangas who will be holding a prayer rally to be led by the Archdiocesan Ministry on Environment (AMEN) outside the City Hall on Monday, June 20, at 9:00AM – in time for the City Council’s meeting to decide on the request by the coal plants for a local clearance.
The biggest anti-coal march held in Batangas City last May 4 should send a strong message to the new local government of Batangas City, including the members of the Sangguniang Lungsod that the people of Batangas resoundingly reject the dirty coal energy and the death and destruction it will surely bring to the city.
Let the voice, the rights and welfare of the people and the community prevail over the powerful but narrow interests of those aggressively pushing for the construction of the coal power plant in the city and other parts of the country!
26 April 2016
Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC) expresses its dismay during the last Presidential debate hosted by ABS CBN held in Pangasinan last April 24, 2016. All the candidates proved disappointing and offered no solution to the current power crisis.
None of the candidates have a clear solution or platform on sustainable energy, worse presidential candidate Mar Roxas from the Liberal Party, reiterated the use of “ Clean coal” as the solution to the power crisis in the country. FDC Secretary General Sammy Gamboa reminded Mr. Roxas that clean coal is a dirty lie.
Clean energy advocates are not surprised however that candidates will continue to implement neoliberal policies that favors privatization and the use of dirty and harmful sources of energy such as coal. Their biggest financial backers from the industry always ensure that their interests are paramount over the interests of the poor majority of the population.
19 April 2016
A latest case of MERALCO abuse, regulatory capture and collusion, and monumental failure of Electric Power Reform Act (EPIRA)”, the Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC) assailed the latest round of power rate increase by MERALCO.
FDC led a protest action by a group of electricity consumers in front of the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) office today to denounce the looming power rate hike by the energy monopoly starting this month.
The power rate hike is a result of an 8-centavo increase in Feed-in-Tariff (FIT) effective April and the increase in “ancillary costs” nationwide with the Power Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation (PSALM) recovering a "differential ancillary service charge" of P6.5B for Luzon, P1.9B for Visayas and P1.6B for Mindanao which it will start recovering in May.
“The Feed-in-Tariff (FIT) is the government’s incentive to power investors to entice them to invest in renewable energy and guarantee a return of their investments. This is a burden passed on to the consumers,” the FDC clarified.
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) warns that another case of corporate abuse and impunity by MERALCO is about to be committed at the expense of the long-suffering electricity consumers with the power company’s recent application with the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) of the so-called “interim rates” in order to remedy the company’s failure to reset its power rates and charges, as required by the ERC rules, every four years.
FDC asserts that the interim rates applied for by MERALCO in ERC Case No. 2015-112RC and its capital expense program proposed in ERC Case No. 2015-016RC are illegal, highly irregular, alarming and anomalous.
MERALCO’s interim rate application effectively undercuts and sidesteps the need and process for the Rate Reset—an adversarial process that theoretically requires the ERC to review and approve, every four years, MERALCO’s Distribution, Supply and Metering (DSM) charge, under ERC’s own rules for Performance Based Regulation (PBR).