By CPP Information Bureau
The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) today condemned the Aquino regime not only for allowing the successive increases in power rates and oil prices, but for sharing in the profit with the oil cartels and bourgeois compradors through a concomitant increase in the collection of taxes. The latest round of increases is set to worsen the socio-economic misery already being suffered by the Filipino people.
Last Monday, the Department of Energy announced that it has allowed the Manila Electric Company (Meralco) to increase its power rates by a hefty P4.15 per kilowatt hour spread over the next three months, leading to a 70% hike in the electricity bills of common consumers by the end of the period. The electric bill of a household with a monthly average consumption of 200 kilowatts is set to rise by nearly P900 in the first month of implementation.
Meralco is a utilities company that monopolizes power distribution in Metro Manila, Bulacan, Rizal and Cavite and dominates other adjacent areas. It is majority-owned by the big bourgeois comprador and Aquino ally Manuel V. Pangilinan, who also heads the PLDT and Smart telecommunications companies, the TV5 television and multimedia company and the Philex Mining Corp.
After allowing the power rate increase, the Aquino regime also sanctioned a decision by the oil companies to implement another round of substantial increases in the prices of petroleum products. The price per kilo of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) rose by P14.30 (or P157.30 per 11-kilo tank), while the prices of diesel increased by P1.65/liter, kerosene by P1.20/liter and gasoline by P0.35/liter. Prior to this, diesel prices had already risen by at least P4 per liter over the past year.
“In turning a blind eye to this double whammy, the Aquino regime is also set to make a killing in the form of the 12% value-added tax on all purchases of highly priced petroleum products and electrical services. This, in complete disregard of the people’s grave socio-economic conditions marked by massive unemployment, low wages, spiralling prices and the generally rising cost of living.”
Recent surveys conducted by the Ibon Databank show that the majority of Filipinos are experiencing difficulties in paying for basic utilities such as electricity and water, as well as other essentials such as education and health needs.
The successive increases in electricity rates and fuel prices are expected to trigger further increases in the costs of basic services and commodities, as well as the costs of transportation, including that of the transshipment of relief supplies to the areas devastated by the recent supertyphoon and earthquakes.
The CPP called on the Filipino people to vigorously protest the recent round of power rates and oil price increases and hold the Aquino regime responsible for their grave socio-economic conditions. “After more than a decade of liberalization, the Filipino people can now clearly see that the deregulation of the oil industry and the power sector has not brought the promises of competition and lower prices.”
The oil industry was deregulated in 1998 through the Oil Deregulation Law while the power sector was deregulated through the EPIRA law enacted in 2001.
“The deregulation of the oil industry and the power sector have only resulted in the greater leverage of the oil cartel as well as the dominant power distributors to determine the prices of oil and power rates to the detriment of the Filipino people,” said the CPP. “The Filipino people are thus ever determined to fight and seek and end to the EPIRA law.”