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Everybody’s Hand In The Cookie Jar

May 30, 2008

Minus the customary grandstanding for the news cameras by our dear lawmakers and the mind-boggling conversions from gigawatt hours to kilowatt hours, one thing emerged abundantly clear at the House energy committee hearing: everybody’s hand is in the cookie jar.

The power generators (Lopez-owned First Gas) got paid for power they did not deliver, the government makes tax money even from pilfered electricity, Filipinos pay for indigenous God-given natural gas (including royalty fees) at the same escalating costs of imported crude oil, we pay for electricity we don’t use, and regulators let all these abuses happen because “the laws authorize them.”

He was not there but former president Fidel Valdez Ramos also got pummelled because of the controversial take-or-pay guarantees built into the 40 or so contracts of independent power producers who were given such incentives, onerous as they were, to ‘rescue’ the country from the Ramos-era power shortages of the early 90’s.

Such is the price of crisis executive decisions. Hailed as savior then, now dubbed the goat.

Poor Juan Dela Cruz. Even Asyong Aksaya is probably crying.

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