BY EMILY VITAL
January 29, 2008 – 12:21pm
Members of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan or New Patriotic Alliance) and allied organizations held a picket protest in front of the SMX Convention Center in Manila, venue of the Energy Summit, earlier today.
“We doubt that the people’s legitimate concerns on energy including cheaper oil prices and oil price control will be seriously taken up by the summit organizers because the agenda and the desired results have already been pre-determined,” said Arnold Padilla of Bayan’s Public Information Department in a statement. He said that the summit actually forms part of the Arroyo regime’s medium-term energy program that is anchored on the “privatization and foreign control of local energy resources including oil, natural gas, and renewable energy.”
Bayan cited the prominent role of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in the summit, where the bank’s deputy secretary general and senior energy specialist will lead the program’s “perspective setting.” The group disclosed that the ADB is funding a $200-million renewable energy project in the Philippines starting next year to entice more foreign investors.
The protesters were able to hold a 15-minute program despite attempts of the police and security guards to disperse them.
In her speech, Anakpawis (Toiling Masses) Secretary-General Cherry Clemente reiterated the scrapping of 12 percent value-added tax (VAT) on petroleum products, repeal of oil deregulation law and nationalization of the energy industry as concrete solutions to the rising cost of petroleum products. (Bulatlat.com)