May 06, 2008

Gov't takeover na naman?!

SO it's back to '70s are we when private companies were nationalized by President Marcos and taken over by the government? One of these companies were ABS-CBN, the broadcasting arm of the Lopez Group.

When Corazon Aquino came into power and became President of the country in 1986, her government immediately took itself out of business and returned most private companies back to their owners, ABS-CBN to the Lopezes included. As many academic studies have shown, government in business is simply, bad business. Most of these government companies are non-performing and inefficiently run. To this day, there are many government assets that are being privatized albeit ever so slowly, but because of the way most of these companies have been operating, they have become virtually unpalatable to investors.

Now comes 2008 an it must be deja vu all over for the Lopezes as President Arroyo and her minions try to take over Meralco, the largest power distributor in the country. Coincidentally (or coaccidentally?) just when news of the planned government takeover spread, a two-hour power outage hit several parts of Quezon City last night, including my village. While the cause was traced to "line trouble", as usual the conspiracy theorist in me can't help but think some sinister motive behind the blackout. Okay lang sana kung ginawa sa Malacañang noh?

Seriously, we all hate our high electric bills that's for sure. And especially this summer, my own power bill has gone up by P2,000 primarily due to the regular use of our aircons. I'm not blaming Meralco though. I'm blaming the presidentita because of her government's inability to really implement reforms in the power sector.

Like, for years, the public can have access to lower electricity costs if only we are able to tap the power generated by the Sta. Rita and San Lorenzo gas plants in Batangas. But that plant's output, which is sourced from the Malampaya gas field in Palawan, is not being utilized properly. Why can't Napocor buy more of these gas plants' power output? Because they are owned by the Lopezes as well?

Not only that, the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001 has yet to be fully implemented. Napocor has yet to privatize many of its power plants and assets which account for about 70 percent of the electric generating capacity.

Also, the costs of crude is going about in the world market hitting over $100 per barrel. This pushes up local power costs as well. So why doesn't the government temporarily remove the tax on imported crude, as well as the sales tax on systems energy loss? I say temporarily because of course, I am aware that the goverment needs to boost its revenues (bec. it cannot stem the tide of corruption in revenue-collecting agencies), but while the economy and the public are struggling from the high costs of power, it is the government's responsibility to give us temporary relief.

Taking over Meralco is another greedy "hare"-brained (utak kuneho) scheme of the presidentita to get back at her detractors, most especially the Lopez Group whose ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corp. is not too sweet on her.

But just look at what happened when she forced her way into the NAIA terminal 3? Government took over the terminal which wasn't built by taxpayers' monies btw, and yet it continues to be closed...a virtual white elephant for the country. Ang galing mo talaga, GMA! Isa kang henyo!

1 comment:

Mars said...

Finally some sense! :) I've been following the news about the takeover, and imagine if the government takes over even the distribution side of power? The government simply has no drive to better a service rendered to their market. Walang pera para magbigay ng incentive sa employees. Kukurakutin nalang ng officials bago ibigay sa employees. Ang NAPOCOR, Terminal 3, National Steel, di nga mapagana ng mabuti ng gobyerno ng mabuti, pano na pag kinuha pa ang MERALCO? They can’t even keep their part of the bargain sa EPIRA, di nga ma-privatize ang NAPOCOR palibhasa baon sa utang.