MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/22 May) – The Mindanao Commission on Women will launch on Thursday (May 24) the Bukidnon chapter of a movement against the privatization of the Agus and Pulangi hydropower complexes, Amelia Bojo, director of MCW-Bukidnon said.
Pipol’s Power, launched earlier this month in Iligan City, aims to convince President Benigno Aquino III to stop the privatization of the National Power Corporation.
But Bojo said that they have also come up with a fundraising scheme so that if the privatization plan pushes through, the ownership of these plants will go to the people.
Dr. Melchora J. Ambalong, of the Iligan City-based Lanao Power Consumers Corporation and MCW vice chair, is the main speaker during the launch on Thursday at the municipal gymnasium of Maramag.
Aquino told the Mindanao Power Summit last month that privatization is the only solution to the reported power crisis in the island only to announce later that he was only misquoted.
The group said they heard reports the President had changed his mind.
“But we have never really heard him announce this change of position publicly,” Bojo told MindaNews.
The movement, Bojo added, seeks to make the people the owners of the power complexes by raising at least P50 from each Mindanao resident and Mindanao-based company for the P1-billion seed money to be used as down payment.
Mindanao’s population is estimated at 21 million.
But Bojo said many people, especially women, do not understand the supposed Mindanao power crisis and its implications. She said they need to hold public forums for the people to understand the situation.
She said Pipol’s Power is for the repeal of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA).
She urged the government to fast-track the processing of applications for hydropower projects.
The group is looking at setting up a Mindanao Power Commission to run the Agus and Pulangi power complexes, in case privatization pushes through and the public acquires the two assets.
It is also pushing for the full operation of Pulangi IV through rehabilitation and is opposing
the inclusion of Mindanao to the national power grid and the use of coal-fired power plants. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)