June 20, 2000
NAPOCOR PRIVATIZATION-- A DONE DEAL
MEMBERS of the Confederation for Unity, Recognition & Advancement of Government Employees (COURAGE) and the Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) today criticized the on-going Bicameral Conference on the Power Bill as another exercise in futility and squandering of public funds. They said, the arguments on House Bill (HB) No. 8457 and Senate Bill (SB) No. 2000 and on the impending privatization of the National Power Corporation (NAPOCOR) were already settled among the legislators in preparation for President Estradas state visit to the United States in July.
In a picket held outside the hotel, they said that the Senate expedited the passage of SB 2000 as fast as the payola-tainted HB 8457 since the International Monetary Fund-World Bank (IMF-WB) renewed its condition not to release the loans the Estrada Administration has sought for, unless it passes the law privatizing the NAPOCOR. "The multinational corporations (MNCs) are already impatient over the long delays. To date, more than 120 MNCs are drooling on the assets and resources of Napocor and the sure market for power. It is of no surprise to us that the Senators have also received its reward for passing SB 2000, but for how much, we have yet to find out. Theyre just going through the motion of a Bicameral Committee (Bicam) to provide the public a semblance of deliberations. But far from it, the public knows its already a done deal", Ferdinand Gaite, COURAGE President said.
"It is not just a question of who will shoulder the stranded costs and other debts incurred by Napocor. The point is, it is the public that is still on the losing end since Napocors ultimate sale shall mean higher power rates, poor services and termination of thousands of employees. These scheme happened already with the Metropolitan Waterworks & Sewerage System (MWSS) and Philippine Airlines (PAL). Did the privatization make better lives for the public?"
Gaite emphasized that even if the Senate version does not include Napocor privatization, the provisions in SB 2000 that calls for restructuring the Napocor is already laying down the groundwork for its eventual sale. "With the MWSS experience, the public will not be fooled anymore!" Theyre just wasting public funds for the expensive hotels used for the meeting".
The groups added that because of the huge budgetary deficit, more state enterprises are set to be privatized such as the National Food Authority (NFA), Light Rail Transit (LRT), Bureau of Customs (BOC), Philippine Postal Corporation (PhilPost), National Printing Office (NPO), ports, etc." They are selling these agencies at the frontline of delivering public services but the funds which will be generated from the sale will be used to pay foreign debts and even finance the war in Mindanao. Only the IMF-WB, MNCs and local big businesses shall benefit from privatization. Thus, the people have no recourse but to oppose and fight this imposition!" #.