Ka Leody, consumer groups urge gov’t action vs high power rate in Mindanao

Anjo Bagaoisan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 27 2022 08:12 PM

Photo by Anjo Bagaoisan ABS-CBN News
Photo by Anjo Bagaoisan ABS-CBN News

MANILA — Partido Lakas ng Masa presidential candidate Leody de Guzman on Wednesday called on the Department of Energy (DOE) and Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to take action against what he and other energy and consumer rights advocates allege is a conspiracy to keep electricity prices high, particularly in Mindanao.

De Guzman and members of the Power for People Coalition filed a complaint at the DOE in Taguig, asking the agency to review over 70 power supply contracts with electric cooperatives and distribution utilities in the region that allegedly did not undergo a competitive selection process or bidding.

“Napakamahal ng kuryente natin,” De Guzman told reporters. 

“At ang tingin namin ‘yan ay resulta ng sabwatan. Kasi walang bidding. Sa'n ka nakakita ng sektor ng serbisyo na walang bidding samantalang ang klarung-klaro, nagbaba na sila ng kautusan na dapat ay may bidding.” 

The so-called “non-competitive” agreements resulted in Mindanao consumers paying the highest electricity rates on average compared to those in Luzon and Visayas, the group said, citing DOE’s data.

They added that some Mindanao areas continue to experience blackouts despite an excess supply from coal plants. 

“Dapat ma-review yan at maibalik sa tamang halaga ng pagbabayad ng kuryente dahil ‘yong ating mamamayan ay hirap na hirap ngayon. Nasa pandemya pa tayo, andami pang walang trabaho. Ambaba ng sweldo ng manggagawa, inuupakan pa tayo ng napakataas na presyo ng kuryente,” de Guzman said. 

The presidential hopeful reiterated his platform of pushing for renewable energy which would result in more jobs and respond to the climate crisis.

De Guzman is also a proponent of the government nationalizing or taking over power and other utility services from the private sector to keep costs low for consumers.

NO MOTHERHOOD STATEMENTS

The PLM standard-bearer said he would continue with his campaign with less than 2 weeks left until the May 9 polls, with an emphasis on the specific needs of the various sectors he seeks to represent. 

De Guzman said relaying how voters’ concerns would be addressed was crucial to gaining their vote.

“Magfo-focus kami talaga ngayon sa sektor, diba? ‘Yon ang pokus talaga natin kasi naghahabol kami ng dagdag pang boto para sa ating mamamayan. Kaya kinakailangan, ‘yong face to face na pinag-uusapan. Hindi na yung mga motherhood statement na pauunlarin ko kayo, ihahango namin sa kahirapan ang mga mahihirap. Kinakailangan tumbukin ano ang isyu ng mga sektor, ano ang kanilang problema,” he said.
 

During his last campaign stop in Pasig on Tuesday where he met with residents of government-built housing, De Guzman zoomed in on his advocacy of higher wages and protecting workers’ rights.

This campaign focus is also the rationale behind his going house-to-house during some of his sorties.

He added he remains optimistic about his campaign and plans to continue speaking about his platform, including during the Comelec-sponsored panel interviews.

“Lalong lumalakas ang aking loob dahil lalong nangangailangan talaga ng malawak na pagkakaisa ng mamamayan dahil pag hindi at ang nagwagi na naman ay ang mga dinastiya, mga trapo sa pulitika, walang mangyayari doon,” the labor leader said. 

De Guzman is set to campaign in Eastern Visayas until Friday.

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