PHILRECA EXPRESSES STRONG DISSENT OVER THE APPROVAL OF HB 8179, EXHIBITS
EVIDENCE VERSUS SOLAR PARA SA BAYAN CORPORATION
The Philippine Electric Cooperatives Association, Inc. (PHILRECA), represented by the 121 electric cooperatives all over the Philippines, seeks for the country’s legislators to further review its stand on the pending House Bill 8179. Much has already been said about the questionable intentions of Solar Para Sa Bayan Corporation (SPSBC); in fact, several legislators have expressed opposition to the apparent railroading of the Bill in congress. While Lean Leviste claims that the SPSBC can provide reliable and cheap electricity, PHILRECA maintains its stand that all of Leviste’s claims are unfounded, misleading, and self-serving.
Passing this Bill will burden our countrymen as SPSBC seeks for a franchise which Leviste can use as his ticket to operate anywhere in the country. Granting a national franchise means that our legislators will allow the SPSBC to circumvent the provisions of the EPIRA, and by doing so, will give the SPSBC the permission to undermine the government’s regulatory power in the energy sector. This will worsen economic conditions of consumers as the SPSBC will have the power to demand exorbitant electricity prices which all Filipinos will eventually bear. In its pursuit of facts, PHILRECA validated the claim of Leviste that the SPSBC has been providing cheaper electricity in Paluan, Occidental Mindoro. It was found out that not a single promise of the SPSBC to the residents of Paluan ever materialized. First, the interviews with the residents revealed that the empty promise of the SPSBC to cut the residents’ electricity costs was never delivered; in fact, some residents claimed that their electricity bills even increased and were higher than the previous charges under OMECO. Second, SPSBC promises a 24/7 service with no occurrence of brownout which, again, was not delivered. The residents of Paluan have also expressed their sentiments that many of their appliances have been damaged because of the intermittent electricity supply in their area. Such failure would have been prevented if SPSBC only became transparent on how solar farms operate, but transparency on this alone was not delivered to the residents of Paluan.
PHILRECA wishes to once again clarify that it is not against SPSBC’s advocacy to provide cheap, reliable, and clean energy. PHILRECA is against SPSBC’s lack of track record in the energy industry, a concern that our legislators should not easily take for granted. PHILRECA would also like to inform the public that to date, 102,540 electricity consumers from the rural areas have signified their opposition to House Bill 8179. The signature campaign is still ongoing, with more signatures still coming in daily. While doing a signature campaign is a humble undertaking compared to the overwhelming number of media releases of the SPSBC, PHILRECA maintains its stand that the voice of the public in this issue is the voice that our policymakers should take into consideration and should pay attention to. PHILRECA believes that the only way that policymakers can exercise due diligence on the said Bill is to conduct a careful review of the track record of Lean Leviste, the SPSBC, and the opposing stand of the numerous stakeholders which were not consulted during the previous hearings. PHILRECA challenges all legislators as well as all Filipinos to make well informed decisions regarding HB 8179 as it will create irreversible impacts to the energy sector and to the country as a whole.