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The Government (of the day) vs. MERALCO Part II

May 9, 2008

No one is blinking just yet. Instead, the week is drawing to a close with the media-mighty owners of the Manila Electric Railroad and Light Company (yes, this is the original full name of MERALCO in the pioneering years when it also operated what was then Asia’s ‘modern’ tranvia system.)

Instead press reports indicate, the Lopezes are ‘calling the bluff’ and daring the Govrnment Service Insurance System to buy them out.

Mr. Oscar Lopez and his clan know the game only too well and are probably right in betting that while Mr. Winston Garcia is portraying MERALCO as the ‘big bad wolf’ in the current brouhaha over high electricity prices, Filipinos will not really embrace the idea of government running MERALCO, given the sterling track record of government (pun intended) in mismanaging any private enterprise that it lays its hands on.

You can probably call it reverse alchemy, or more precisely the ability to turn gold into mud while transforming every government-nominated director into a millionaire.

And hey, would you really want to turn MERALCO into the newest milking cow of government functionaries, with the 2010 elections just a couple of blocks away?

And on the matter of electricity rates themselves, MERALCO also knows that with the rainy season almost upon us, the settlement prices at the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market 9WESM) will begin easing up with the increased sourcing and dispatch of electricity from the cheaper hydro-electric plants in the coming months.

So mother nature herself may give Filipinos some, but only some relief, while our politicians do what they are best at, huff and puff about ‘fighting’ high prices.

What will remain unrevealed, we are willing to bet, are the commission-laden (some claim corruption-ridden) deals between NAPOCOR and its expensive coal and bunker fuel suppliers and the bilateral power supply contracts that bypass the WESM mechanism.

Only when the lid on these items are lifted will the poor Filipino consumers really know why their electricity bills are high. Remember we also are made to pay for power we don’t even consume.

Such is our fate.

One Comment leave one →
  1. kapirasongtinik permalink
    May 19, 2008 4:38 pm

    This is the evil that lurks behind all these.

    http://www.philstar.com/index.php?Bansa&p=50&type=2&sec=54&aid=2008051864

    Bansa
    Meralco sinusulot ng 3 GMA crony

    Monday, May 19, 2008

    Tatlong “crony” umano ni Presidente Gloria Arroyo ang nag-aagawan sa pag-take-over sa Meralco.

    Ayon kay Bayan Muna Partylist Rep. Teddy Casino ang tatlong ito ang itinu­ turong “utak” sa demolisyon sa Meralco para magka­roon ng dahilan ng government take-over sa pinaka­malaking distribution utility sa bansa at hatiin ito sa tatlong franchise area.

    Ang plano ng tatlong malalaking pamilya ay ibinulgar matapos parata­ngan ni Casino na ang “Cebu Mafia” ang nasa likod ng mga serye ng atake sa pamilya Lopez at sa Meralco. Ginagamit umano ng mga pamilya na ito si Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) president and general manager Winston Garcia upang pataasin ang stake nito sa Meralco at atakihin ang mga polisiya ng nasabing distribution utility.

    “Clearly, Winston Garcia has a track record of using his position in GSIS to serve the interests of the Aboitiz group,” ayon naman kay Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) president Antonio Tinio.

    Tinukoy din ni Tinio na ang pamilya Aboitiz ay nasa power generation at distribution din, banking, shipping at kilalang supporter at malapit sa Arroyo administration.

    Bukod sa pamilyang ito ay pinapaboran din ng Malakanyang ang Alsons Group na kon­tro­lado na­man ng pamil­yang Alcan­tara. Si Tomas Alcan­tara ay kilalang ba­hagi ng kit­chen Cabinet ni Pangu­long Arroyo at siya uma­nong tu­matayong lider ng bulong brigade ng Napocor mafia.

    Ayon sa mga sources sa industriya ng kuryente at opisyales ng Napocor, ang dalawang grupong ito ang nag-eengganyo sa Mala­ kan­yang na awayin ang kasalukuyang management ng Meralco sa pa­mamagitan ng pagkakalat ng intriga na ang mga Lopez ang sanhi ng mataas na presyo ng kuryente at hindi ang 12 porsyentong EVAT at ang mataas na singil ng Napocor.

    Idinagdag pa nila na ang mga Aboitiz at Alcan­tara ay naglalaway din sa mga power generating plants na pag-aari ng mga independent power producers (IPP) at gagamitin ang impluwensya nila kay Arroyo upang sungkitin ang mga ito. Bukod sa pagiging kamag-anak ni First Gentleman Mike Arroyo, isa sa mga lalaking Aboitiz ay matalik na kaibi­gan ni Pangulong Arroyo.

    Sinasabi rin ng mga sources sa Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) na ang nangangasiwa sa pamimili ng Meralco shares ay Vivian Yuchengco, isang stock broker at opisyal ng PSE, at ang ATR Kim Eng ang siya namang dinadaanan ng mga transaksyon.

    Upang mapabilis ang paghawan ng Meralco shares, si Diosdado “Bu­boy” Macapagal at si En­rique Razon ng ICTSI, ang ingatyaman ng partido ni Arroyo, ang siyang gina­gawa ngayong bukal ng pera para mamili ng Meralco shares.

    Kinondena na ng mga kongresista ang ginaga­wang maniobra ni Garcia at ang sobrang pakikialam nito sa usapin ng Meralco ga­yong hindi niya maipali­wanag kung saan nauuwi ang salapi ng GSIS at kung bakit sangkaterbang rek­lamo na ang ginawa ng mga pensyonado at ng mga kawani na pamahalaan na bumubuhay sa institusyong ito.

    Lumilitaw din na bukod pa sa pagiging presidente at General Manager ng GSIS, si Garcia ay umuupo at sumasahod din ng milyun-milyong piso sa ibat-ibang kumpanya na may investment ang GSIS.

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