The Power for People Coalition (P4P) on Wednesday marked Bonifacio Day by reminding the government and the courts to protect the rights of the people – rights that Andres Bonifacio fought for more than a century ago – against harm from abusive actions of power companies.
San Miguel Corporation (SMC) said on Monday that it asked the Court of Appeals (CA) to overturn the Energy Regulatory Commission’s (ERC) decision to deny the joint SMC-Meralco petition to raise power rates as it is a violation of SMC’s constitutional right to due process before being deprived of private property. SMC’s petition with the CA resulted in a temporary restraining order (TRO) on the power supply agreement (PSA) – a decision that even President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. has appealed to the court to reconsider, citing possible price increases.
“We welcome the appeal of President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. to the Court of Appeals to reconsider its TRO on account of higher power rates. It is precisely what we think SMC had in mind – to appeal the decision to be able to raise power rates on the citizenry. The TRO was unjustly issued, considering the ERC itself has already clarified weeks back that the computations used by Meralco and SMC on rate implications are unaligned with those of the ERC’s Regulatory Operations Service in many ways – despite SMC brazenly claiming otherwise,” said Gerry Arances, P4P Convenor.
Arances also took exception to SMC’s statement concerning rights, saying that the welfare of the people, not the profit of corporations, should have priority in any discussion of energy policy in the country.
“SMC is violating the people’s right to reliable, affordable, and sustainable energy. To begin with, SMC to this very day continues to implement 33 PSAs that have already been voided by the Supreme Court for failure to undergo bidding, thus, resulting in high generation rates. It sold expensive electricity to distribution utilities even if SMC’s coal-fired power plants were among those that broke down and caused the red alert two days ago. PSAs are not ordinary contracts. They are imbued with public interest. Profits are not the sole consideration; instead, PSAs must guarantee fairness and consumer protection. In the middle of high inflation and grave economic crisis affecting the public, SMC pushes down our throats the ₱15 billion it had lost due to its own decisions,” said Atty. Luke Espiritu, President of Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino.
The energy consumer advocacy group urged President Marcos, and the rest of the government, to work more for the people’s welfare in the Great Plebian’s memory.
“Today we mark the 159th birthday of a man who cast away everything to uphold the rights of his fellow Filipinos. Because of him, we need not take arms and fight for what the people deserve. We only need to do what is right. We ask all our executive, legislative, and judicial officials to always decide what is right for the people,” said Arances.
Contact: Aryanne, 09295940057