Malacañang may have made the right choice in getting Noli de Castro as Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s runningmate to boost her chances in 2004. But the Freedom from Debt Coalition believes it is the Lopezes who would be getting the windfall out of this deal.

“The emerging unholy alliance between GMA and the Lopez family, reportedly sealed through the GMA-de Castro tandem, spells doom for millions of Maynilad and Meralco consumers,” said FDC Vice President Wilson Fortaleza.

Around 200 protesters marched to Mendiola this morning to condemn the shady deals of the Arroyo administration with the Lopezes.

“It appears that in exchange for the Lopez’s support to her 2004 presidential bid, the President has been granting generous concessions for Maynilad and Meralco,” Fortaleza added.

Maynilad is currently facing public outrage after contaminated water running through its pipes killed at least seven and downed more than five hundred others with cholera in Tondo and Malabon. To cap Maynilad’s woes, the International Arbitration Panel has ordered the water utility to pay P6.77 billion in concession fees.

Government, however, has hardly lifted a finger to hold Maynilad accountable. The President has remained silent in the issue of Maynilad’s contaminated water. The MWSS-RO remains complacent as it is again prevented from drawing on the US$120-million performance bond, despite the fact that the bond is not covered by Maynilad’s rehabilitation program.

On the other hand, Meralco is pushing for a P0.1358/kWh rate increase. On top of this, consumers continue to pay for expensive electricity and even electricity they did not consume.

But instead of asserting its majority voting rights in behalf of the public, government has been subservient to the whims and caprices of the Lopezes and their appointees to the Board. Further, government has failed to exert best effort to lower, if not eradicate, the onerous purchased power adjustment (PPA) resulting from contracts between Meralco and its IPPs.

“Are these developments mere coincidences? FDC doesn’t think so, especially with election time just around the corner, and Gloria’s credibility increasingly shaken. Malacañang would need all the help it can get, even at the expense of the poor,” Fortaleza pointed out.

HOLD MAYNILAD RESPONSIBLE FOR CONTAMINATED WATER IN THE WEST ZONE!
COMPEL MAYNILAD TO PAY CONCESSION FEES NOW!

REDUCE ELECTRICITY RATES NOW! ABOLISH PPA!
SCRAP MERALCO PETITION FOR RATES INCREASE!

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