AN opposition lawmaker is blaming the government for the recent spikes in the prices of oil, power and water claiming that President Benigno Aquino 3rd could have stopped these unjust increases.
“Why should there be another big time oil price hike when oil companies have a buffer stock that was purchased when the price was much lower? Worse, oil prices are decreasing in the international market but it is increasing here,” Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares said in a statement.
“Add to this the impending power rate and water rate hikes, then consumers are again given another burden,” Colmenares said.
He said that they have yet to get the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) report on the alleged collusion by generation companies (gencos) to deplete supply in order to increase electricity rates.
“[B]ut Meralco is again using the same reasoning of simultaneous plant outages as the reason for a rate increase. Again this would not have happened if government effectively regulates the power industry and if it owns a significant number of power plants to have a say in the market,” Colmenares said.
He also pointed out that Maynilad and Manila Water started implementing higher water rates last month to cover foreign currency differential adjustments (FCDA), which he said will be reflected on customers’ bills in February.
“This would not have happened if the water industry was not privatized by government,” Colmenares said.
“Manila Water and Maynilad must first refund the billions of pesos they collected from the public for still unimplemented water projects before they could talk about increasing water charges,” he added.
These unimplemented projects include the P5.4 billion Angat Water Reliability project and the P45.3 billion Laiban dam project, according to the lawmaker.
“These impending rate increases could be stopped if President Aquino will abandon his privatization and deregulation policies while at the same time intervene and warn these companies of their liabilities should they be involved in price manipulations or unjust rate increases. The fact that the Aquino administration has allowed prices of basic commodities to go up despite the decreasing oil prices only shows its lack of concern for the consumers,” Colmenares said.