Royal Houses of Lanao, KPM endorse AMRECO Manifesto
#Non-privatization of Agus-Pulangi Hydroelectric Complex and its exclusive use for residential consumers
Traditional leaders of Lanao have officially endorsed the petition of Mindanao’s largest organization of electric distribution utilities to keep the Agus-Pulangi Hydroelectric Power Complex in government hands for the exclusive use of residential households in Mindanao.
In a simple ceremony held 26 November 2016 during the 1st Annual General Membership Assembly (AGMA) of the Association of Mindanao Rural Electric Cooperatives (AMRECO) the Four Principalities of Lanao (Pat a Pangampong ko Ranao) represented by Vice Chairman Sultan Ysmael T.M. Ali turned over to AMRECO President Sergio Dagooc their Manifesto of Support.
Sultan Ali was accompanied by Sultan Farouk R. Sharief, Sultan of Taporog, and Sultan Mamasaranao B. Mulok, Sultan of Pagayawan.
“We believe we Filipinos cannot develop independently as separate regions, cultural classes or religious groups; that as a nation we have to come together to foster unity, harmony, and cooperation regardless of our cultural, religious or geographical differences,” read the Sultanates’ manifesto.
“We, the 16 Royal Sultanates of Lanao, as representatives of the Maranao people, share the sense of injustice of our people, despite being the host communities of Lake Lanao which feeds the Agus hydroelectric power plants, ironically experience a shortage of electricity and expensive electric rates, despite repeated petitions to the government to rectify this situation for decades now,” said Sultan Ali.
“We share the noble objectives of AMRECO to share the benefits of this national patrimony with our poorest of the poor down to the base of the pyramid, so the 16 Royal Sultanates have officially endorsed AMRECO’s position to not privatize the Agus-Pulangi Hydroelectric Power plants and exclusively use its output for the poorest of the poor, in line with the programs of President Duterte,” he added.
The Four Principalities of Lanao is composed of 16 royal sultans, who are all members of the Lanao Advisory Council created by Executive Order No. 602, dated 09 February 2007 covering Lanao del Sur and Lanao del Norte, Marawi City, Iligan City and several towns on Misamis Oriental and Bukidnon.
Section 1 of the E.O. specifies that the Council shall advice the President on matters concerning and/or affecting the areas where the 16 Royal Sultanates are recognized, facilitate the settlement of conflict and assist the government in the implementation of government programs in said areas;
In its manifesto, the group cited how eleven of the 20 most poorest provinces in the Philippines as reported by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) are found in Mindanao, particularly Lanao del Sur, Sulu, Sarangani, Maguindanao, Bukidnon, Sultan Kudarat, Zamboanga del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Lanao del Norte, North Cotabato and Zamboanga Sibugay.
In particular, the 16 Royal Sultanates declared its strongest dedication and support for the AMRECO legislative agenda as urgent measures to reduce the cost of electricity for the poorest of the poor, most especially the review of Republic Act 9136 (better known as the EPIRA Law), especially for the non-privatization in perpetuity of Agus–Pulangui Hydro Electric Power Plants (HEPPs) in Mindanao; support for House Resolution No. 472 (A Resolution for the Deferment of the Privatization of Agus and Pulangui Hydro Electric Power Plants);
Requiring the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) to contract out as soon as possible or work for an Ancillary Service Procurement Agreement (ASPA) with various new power plants now operating in Mindanao to free up the present capacity from Agus and Pulangui HEPP it utilizes for ancillary purposes.
Requiring PSALM to allocate all the remaining low cost available capacity from Agus and Pulangui HEPP to all Distribution Utilities only, considering how the DU’s are serving the residential consumers comprising the majority of the low income families, as its cheap generation cost can substantially lower the cost of the DU’s effective rate, thereby reducing their electric bills, spreading to majority of the people of Mindanao the benefits of the Agus and Pulangui Hydroelectric Power Plants, especially to the poorest of the poor in host communities who ironically do not enjoy the benefits of electricity until now.
The manifesto also cited how the continued allocation of cheap electricity from the hydros to industrial and directly connected customers has no significant direct benefits to low income families in Mindanao, as the main direction of the Duterte Administration is to lower the cost of electricity.
“Why should the oligarchs who already have much more wealth benefit from this cheap electricity when many of our poor countrymen who also own this patrimony of the nation are struggling to put food on the table? There is a very big injustice here and with the arrival of President Duterte, the poorest of the poor who have suffered through past administrations, will have hope to raise their standard of living. We can enjoy a free and progressive Philippines,” Sultan Ali stressed.
The Manifesto also called for PSALM to provide additional allocation/capacity to electric cooperatives hosting Agus Hydro Electric Power Plants (LASURECO and LANECO).
“It is ironic how many of our communities in the municipalities surrounding Lake Lanao are without electricity up to now, over 50 years after the Agus hydroelectric power plants were set up,” noted Sultan Mamasaranao B. Mulok, Sultan of Pagayawan. “That’s our appeal to the government through the National Electrification Administration (NEA) to rehabilitate the distribution system of LASURECO to benefit our people. They can even reduce the retail electricity rate to as low as PhP 3.00/kWh from the PhP 7.00/kWh we are now paying so more poor people can avail of electricity.”
“By this, the government can make amends for the destruction of our rice fields when the National Power Corporation set up the Agus hydroelectric complex. Lanao used to be the rice granary of Mindanao but this industry all but disappeared when the hydro plants started operating and controlling the level of Lake Lanao, also causing 33 species of indigenous fishes in the lake to become extinct,” said Sultan Farouk R. Sharief, Sultan of Taporog.
The Four Principalities of Lanao (Pat a Pangampong ko Ranao) with 16 Royal Sultanates are as follows: MASIU Pangampong ( Sultan of Royal House of Masiu & Datu-a Cabugatan of Royal House of Masiu); BAYABAO Pangampong consisting of Mala a Bayabao (Sultans of the Royal Houses of Ramain and Ditsa-an); Lumba-Abayabao (Sultans of the Royal Houses of Bacolod, Borokot, Maribo and Minitupad) and Poona-Bayabao (Sultans of the Royal Houses of Taporog, Bansayan, and Rogan); UNAYAN Pangampong (Sultans of the Royal Houses of Bayang, Butig, Dumalondong, and Pagayawan); and BALO-I Pangampong (Sultan of the Royal House of Balo-i).
The Kamalayang Pilipino Movement (KPM) Region X Chapter led by its chairman Edgardo D. Tigulo similarly expressed support for the AMRECO Manifesto by endorsing their Manifesto of Support in the same turnover ceremony.
KPM is a multi-sectoral national grassroots organization dedicated to attaining national unity through constructive engagement with government for a stable and brighter future.
“We believe that the Filipino people united with government should always consider the interest of small stakeholders as the basis and measure of governance for duly appointed authorities in the energy sector,” read a portion of the Manifesto. “Hence, we support AMRECO in its aspiration to socialize our natural resources and democratize power for the common good through the cooperatives in the energy sector in Mindanao.”
KPM pursues an “asset reform, resource generation and social protection” agenda believing basic services should not be compromised at the expense of the bigger stakeholders for profit.
As such, KPM declares the following principles of “Social development framework for the energy sector aimed at raising the quality of life of our people; restructuring power rates in Mindanao for the benefit of the poor with special rates for residents in host communities of energy facilities.”