Tag Archives: Napocor

Manila lawmakers tasked to review water crisis

By Gerry Albert Corpuz and Bb. Joyce Cabral

MANILA, Philippines- The left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) put to task lawmakers from both Houses of Congress to conduct a joint or separate congressional inquiry on current water crisis affecting 12 million residents in Metro Manila and nearby provinces.

In a press statement, Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap and vice chairperson Salvador France the full-blown investigation of the water problem that immediately affected 1.2 million residents in 177 barangays in Metro Manila should be in the first order of business of the 15th Congress under the Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III administration.

“If President Aquino is afraid to grill the Lopezes of Maynilad Water Services Inc. and the Ayalas of Manila Water Co. on respective culpabilities to the consuming public because they are Aquino’s political benefactors, Congress as separate and co-equal branch of the government should pursue the real score in aid of legislation,” Hicap and France said in their joint statement.

Cross party lines

The Pamalakaya leaders added: “Senators and congressmen should cross party lines and rise above the occasion and pursue this warranted investigation on the roots of water crisis and the evils of privatization of water service”.

Pamalakaya suggested to lawmakers to invite owners, officials and operators of the state owned Manila Water Sewerage System (MWSS) and the National Power Corporation (NAPOCOR) and water concessionaires Maynila and Manila Water. “Congress is lawfully, politically and morally obliged to send the policy of privatization and contracts to these water concessionaires in the hot seat of public investigation and public opinion. Let us all call a spade a spade,” the fisherfolk group said.

Pamalakaya said Congress should also expand its full-blown investigation by reviewing proposals such as the Laiban Dam project and the suggestion opening the water reserves of the 94,000 Laguna Lake to Maynilad and Manila Water despite the two companies’ dismal performance in providing the water needs of the people under a privatized water utility and service system. Dismissing the LLDA suggestion as mindboggling, incorrigible and all-out environmental plunder and destruction.

Pamalakaya said Congress should also go deeper on the plan to allow Maynilad and Manila Water to source additional water from the lake. LLDA’s Manda suggested to source water from Laguna Lake to mitigate the impact of water crisis in Metro Manila should the water level at the Angat dam remain at low level.

Obsession

The LLDA official said the Lopez owned Maynilad Water Services Incorporated has water treatment facilities which could be used to convert freshwater into potable water for Metro Manila consumption. Manda said they have conducted water sampling to determine the lake’s potential as a water source.

“Maynilad’s mouth watering attitude towards Laguna Lake has been there for more than a decades or even decades. This obsession in the name of monopoly profits has been in Maynilad’s corporate mindset since the all out deregulation, privatization and liberalization policy was implemented in the time former President Fidel v. Ramos,” asserted Hicap.

“The LLDA general manager has no option but to back off from the LLDA-Maynilad deal and rescind whatever written or verbal agreement the lake authority had entered into with the Lopez owned water utility,” added Hicap. Pamalakaya said the proposal of Maynilad is to abstract 300 million liters per day (MLD) from Laguna Lake is extremely dangerous to the lake environment. Hicap said the proposal will entail the closure of Napindan Hydraulic control system, preventing the entry of salt water of Manila Bay. He said fish species in Laguna Lake requires the mixing of salt and fresh water to spawn and survive.

“We strongly urge Manda and the LLDA authorities to refrain from further privatizing and converting the lake for the purpose of Jurassic model of development, super profiteering and fat returns of commissions and kickbacks. The LLDA is hereby prevented by national interest from entering into a contract that constitutes sell-out and all-out destruction of people’s livelihood and environment,” said Pamalakaya.

Death certificate

The Pamalakaya said the Maynilad plan is like a death certificate to Laguna Lake killing not only the livelihood of more than 500,000 people engage in fish capture and fish culture activities. He said it will also endanger the fish supply and the fish need of millions of people in the National Capital Region, Laguna and Rizal provinces. Citing the study conducted by the Netherlands government for the LLDA, it said Laguna De Bay, being the largest lake in the Philippines and strategically located in the heart of Calabarzon region, is the most viable source of water for Metro Manila’s west zone.

Maynilad, which is authorized water concessionaire of the Manila Water Sewerage System (MWSS) for the western part of Metro Manila, said the proposed plan if approved will enable the Lopez water utility firm to supply water to the remaining 29 percent covered by its agreement with MWSS in the West Zone area. At present, Maynilad renders water supply to about 703,519 customers, or only 71 percent of its total concession area. The rest of the west zone does not have enough water supply — mainly comprising the areas of Muntinlupa, Parañaque, and Las Piñas.

The LLDA said if it gives the go signal Maynilad will take over operations of the existing water treatment plant in Putatan, Muntinlupa, which currently extracts 180,000 cubic meters per month of lake water and then supplies it to the Ayala Alabang subdivision for the residents’ domestic use. Maynilad will gradually implement the 300-million-liters-per-day extraction of water from the Lake.

The first 100 million liters per day will be made available to the west zone of Metro Manila in 2010 and then water extraction will be increased to 200 million liters in 2011, and then 300 million liters per day by 2014. Maynilad has admitted that 53% of water allocated to the west zone was lost mainly due to leakages. Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson also said that the critical low water level in Angat Dam was attributed to lack of rain and Napocor’s fault on excessive water releases.

According to Water for the People Network reducing water loss or non-revenue water of both concessionaires to single digit percentage will mean additional 900 mld (million liters per day) of water supply to National Capital Region.

The WPN said the multipurpose reservoir of Angat Dam, which provides for 97 percent of the domestic water supply of Metro Manila, gets its water from the Angat Watershed Reservation.

The Angat Watershed Reservation has a total area of 62,309 hectares in two sub-catchments areas. The effective drainage area of the Reservation is 56,800 hectares. This watershed, if properly managed, could provide adequate water to the Angat Dam all year round.

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President elect Aquino asked to stop power rate hikes

By Bombshell Moran, Trinity Biglang Awa and Gerry Albert Corpuz

MANILA, Philippines- Calling it the biggest robbery in broad daylight of year 2010, an official of the activist fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) urged on Monday President elect Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III to reject the proposal of state-owned National Power Corporation (Napocor) to hike its’ rates two times tis year.

In a press statement, Pamalakaya vice chairperson Salvador France dismissed the proposals for two time big time power rate increases as the biggest robbery in broad daylight in the post President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo administration.

“Mr. Aquino should immediately order the Energy Regulatory Commission to reject these unmindful and berserk proposals of Napocor. He can send the marching order right after his inauguration as 15th President of the Republic,” said France.

Napocor is seeking a 62.51 centavos increase per kilowatt-hour in Luzon, 9.73 centavos per kwh in the Visayas and 11.22 centavos per kwh in Mindanao under the 16th installment of the Generation Rate Adjustment Mechanism or GRAM.

The government owned power utility group is also asking the ERC to approve the 63.61 centavos per kwh increase in Luzon, 7.04 centavos per kwh increase in the Visayas and 3.99 centavos per Kwh increase in Mindanao this time under the 15th installment of Incremental Currency Exchange Rate Adjustment or ICERA.

“These electriying proposals of Napocor are worthy of consumer revolt and across-the-nation outrage. All the officials of Napocor should immediately resign from their posts and be ready to be confronted by the angry public and exploited consumers face to face,” the Pamalakaya leader said.

France said one Aquino’s first order of business include the nullification of Napocor proposals for power rate increases. The Pamalakaya official added that President elect Aquino should instead form an investigating body that would open the books of Napocor and scrutinize the operations of the state-owned power utility in the last nine years from 2001 to 2010.

“Napocor is losing money because of left-and-right and unbridled bureaucratic corruption in the 9 years of the Arroyo administration. Napocor is losing money because of the deregulation policy of the govenrment since the deregulation regime of former President Fidel Ramos up to Ms. Arroyo. Therefore, Mr. Aquino has no option but stop this money making adventure of Napocor and kill the three-in-one deregulation, privatization and liberalization policy that made Napocor into monster ,” said Pamalakaya. @

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Militant farmers want PGMA charged on San Roque Dam fiasco

By Gigi Babon, Billy Javier Reyes and Bb. Joyce Cabral

Manila, Philippines- The militant peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) asked farming families in Pangasinan province affected by “tidal wave like” releasing of excess waters by San Roque dam to file class suit and other appropriate criminal and civil charges against President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, against managers of the multipurpose dam and officials of the state-run National Power Corporation (Napocor).

In a press statement, KMP secretary general Danilo Ramos said President Arroyo under the principle of command responsibility is grossly liable for the scores of death and destruction in Pangasinan, and it is only legal and moral to have her lead the stellar cast of criminals behind the across-the-province massacre of peasant homes and rural economic and cultural life.

“We don’t care if she still has this presidential immunity excuse. That will not stop farmers from charging her before the country’s appropriate court. The proposal to deluge her with criminal charges along with top officials of San Roque Multipurpose Dam and Napocor is both legal and collective political exercise of people’s search for truth, justice and accountability,” the KMP leader said.

Ramos made the appeal to Pangasinan farmers to sue President Arroyo, a day after the Senate Committee on Climate Change headed by Sen. Loren Legarda agreed to help craft a protocol in releasing excess waters from dams following the incessant rain and devastating flooding that last week submerged 38 towns and cities in the province.

“Let’s call a spade a spade. This tragedy is intentional and can be rooted out to the eternal thirst for super profits of San Roque and Napocor, which has the seal of approval of the Office of the President. Now, President Arroyo wants to call her own version of investigation. What for? She should be at the center of the gathering political storm against San Roque dam and Napocor,” the KMP official said.

Sen. Legarda said her committee will summon all dam operators to another hearing on tomorrow to write the procedures prompted by back-to-back storms that hit Luzon over the past three weeks, triggered massive flooding and claimed 712 lives.

“We need to have a system or what we call a protocol in releasing water from the dams. We can’t rely on (dam officials’) ingenuity but on a clear scientific way,” said Legarda following a three-hour hearing last Wednesday.

Legarda said the mechanism was needed to prevent a repeat of the destruction and deaths caused by the sudden rise of floodwaters at the height of the onslaught of Tropical Storm “Pepeng” (international codename: Parma) just a week after Tropical Storm “Ondoy” (Ketsana) mauled Metro Manila.

But KMP said Sen. Legarda should now extend the invitation to legitimate stakeholders groups that include farmer organizations in Pangasinan, Tarlac, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union, including peasant groups in other flooded provinces of Central Luzon namely Tarlac, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga and Bulacan.

The peasant group said aside from peasant organizations, the chair of the Senate Committee on Climate Change should also invite experts and advocacy groups to shed light on San Roque Dam that includes cause-oriented organizations that opposed the construction of the dam in 1998.

“Senator Legarda is well informed that San Roque Dam and Napocor officials who attended the hearing two days ago are President Arroyo’s alter egos, and like Mrs. Arroyo, these officials have no conscience and therefore their stories are tall tales, certified incorrect and grandiose lies. We appeal to the good senator to have the farmers speak for themselves and present their alternative and politically correct views based on their rich grassroots experience and knowledge,” the KMP added. #

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RP dams under heavy “pounding” from envi groups

RP dams under heavy “pounding” from envi groups

by Megan Yang in Makati City, and Bb. Joyce Cabral in Naga City

Environmental activists, scientists, indigenous people, urban poor, and other sectoral groups staged a demonstration in front of the San Roque Power Corporation (SRPC) office in Makati City and condemned the SRPC, the National Power Corporation (Napocor) and President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo administration for the massive flooding in Pangasinan and portions of nearby provinces of La Union and Tarlac.

“SRPC, Napocor and President Arroyo should answer to the hundreds of lives, infrastructure and livelihood that were destroyed due to the flooding and devastation caused by their utter disregard to the consequences of their business all in the name of profits,” said Dr. Giovanni Tapang, chairperson of Advocates for Science and Technology for the People AGHAM.

According to the protesters, it was the sudden release of a large volumes of water in San Roque Dam at the height of the storm Pepeng that was largely responsible for 90% of Pangasinan being under water, P12 million worth of infrastructure destroyed, P200 million worth of partial damage on crops and fish production and a number of people being drowned.

The National Power Corporation (Napocor) owns the San Roque dam and spillway, while the San Roque Power Corporation (SRPC) owns the power generating facilities while being controlled by Japanese companies Marubeni and Kansai.

“Although San Roque Dam was also designed for flood control, SRPC and NPC admitted that they keep the water levels of the dam as high as possible as this will generate more electricity. This practice is highly irresponsible and a deliberate disregard to the safety of the nearby communities,” said Dr. Tapang.

“SRPC and NPC continue to evade responsibility and even blame the unusual amount of rainfall or the victims for not heeding the flood warnings for the extent of the calamity in Pangasinan. It is unspeakable how the corporations showed no remorse and even boasted that they would go with the same decision of opening the dam gates that caused so much devastation, deaths and losses if they again had to.” remarked Dr. Tapang.

The officials claim that people were given 4 hour lead time to evacuate, however, victims claim of not receiving any warning while those who were aware claim that their areas were flooded in 30 minutes.

“The disaster brought by San Roque Dam is just a reflection of how the interests of corporations are prioritized over the safety of the people. Surely this kind of mindset is dangerous and will bring more disaster to the people especially where similar projects of foreign corporations are located,”said Dr. Tapang.

Thousand of indigenous people were displaced during its construction and despite widespread protests in local and international level, San Roque Multi-Purpose Dam was approved in 1998. The dam’s construction was completed in March 2003 and became operational in May under President Arroyo’s term.

“President Arroyo should be held accountable for allowing San Roque Dam to operate during her term and for not listening to the demands and the protests of community. This is another example of how her administration is favoring the interests of the foreign corporations at the expense of the safety and welfare of the Filipino people and our environment,” said Clemente Bautista, national coordinator of progressive environmental group Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment.

According to Bautista, “For justice to be served to the victims of the floods in Pangasinan, the government must regain control of the San Roque Dam and work for its decommissioning. Also, plans of constructing large dam projects, such as the Laiban dam, that have proven to destroy our environment and make communities more vulnerable to disasters must be abandoned.”

“If it is indeed true that Mrs. Arroyo is bent on preventing future disasters such as those we have witnessed, she should discontinue favoring the interests of private corporations and hold them accountable for their crimes to communities and reverse her current policy of privatizing our energy resources and infrastructure such as hydro dams,” Bautista ended.

In Naga City, the Legaspi City based fisherfolk group Lakas ng mga Maliliit na Mangingisda ng Bicol (Lambat-Bicol), the regional chapter of the leftwing fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Wednesday urged Malacanang to recall the P 700-million Libmanan-Cabusao Dam (LCD) project in Camarines Sur.

“We cannot allow another San Roque Dam here in Bicol and wait for the next tragedy to strike courtesy of President Arroyo, her son Dato and their foreign investor. Damned that dam please,” Lambat-Bicol chair and Pamalakaya vice-president for Luzon Salvador France said in a press statement.

France asserted that the lessons learned from San Roque Dam should compel President Arroyo to sign an executive order terminating the dam project and she can do it within less than an hour.

“Malacanang has no choice but to scrap the Camarines Sur dam project for good to prevent another super calamity and humanitarian crisis in the making. We don’t care if Rep. Dato and her monster mom get hurt along the way because they will lose their fat kickbacks,” the Pamalakaya leader added.

The dam is part of the P3-billion worth of projects for the first district of Camarines Sur announced by Ms Arroyo in September last year, during the 34th birthday of her son Dato, representative of the first district of Camarines Sur.

The Libmanan-Cabusao irrigation and dam project was touted to be the answer to irrigation in 4,000 hectares of farms.

Lambat-Bicol and Pamalakaya said the project being implemented by the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) under the Bicol River Basin Water Management Project (BRWMP) will usher a new era of environmental disaster and humanitarian crisis across the region if Malacanang and Rep. Arroyo proceed with the ambitious project.

The Pamalakaya official said the P 700 million dam project is a “monster project” orchestrated by the “monster mom” and his “monster son” referring to President Arroyo and son Dato.

“We have another major catastrophe in the making, if the mother and son tandem insist their evil and cruel intentions in Camarines Sur,” France said.

The Lambat-Bicol leader with the observations raised by local folk that large portion of Lupi town would be submerged underwater if the dam pushes through.

But Tomasito Monzon, chief of the BRBWMP, allayed fears that the P700-million Libmanan-Cabusao Dam (LCD) project would cause massive flooding in Lupi and neighboring areas.

“The LCD, which is Bicol’s biggest dam, is not capable of storing a large volume of water,” Monzon said.

“It would not cause massive flooding contrary to the apprehension of residents living near it,” he said.

He said the 11.3-meter tall and 150-m wide dam is a run-off river type of diversion structure unlike the big reservoir dams of Angat in Bulacan, Pantabangan in Nueva Ecija, and Magat in Isabela.

Monzon said a run-off river dam is only capable of raising water up to the maximum crest of the dam which, in the case of LCD, is 11.3 m only.
“When water reaches this maximum level, water will spill over back to the river,” he said.

“Reservoir dams are different because they are designed to store water during rainy days and when the impounded water reaches the maximum reservoir elevation, it is released gradually,” he explained.#

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