Friday, July 23, 2010

Metro Manila' Water Crisis Connected to ANGAT hydroelectric power plant bidding

Is it entirely possible that a compromise has already been made between the Powers-That-Be and the big conglomerates bidding for the 246 megawatt Angat hydroelectric power plant? And that the compromise entails the Lopez-Ayala-Pangilinan group managing and controlling even the Angat water reservoir and dam?

Yesterday, the real reason behind the so-called "water crisis" unveiled itself.

MWSS Macra Cruz, deputy administrator, says that they will ask Malacanang to hand them the administration of Angat dam instead of the Napocor.

Curiously, Cruz says that both Maynilad (owned by MetroPacific Investments Corporation of PLDT man Manny Pangilinan) and Manila Water (owned by the Ayala Group of Companies) have submitted a proposal to the Aquino administration to jointly manage and control the Angat dam.

The proposal outlines how Maynilad and Manila Water would jointly take custody of Angat Dam with MWSS as its "partner".

The Group is bold on its proposal---the government is unable to solve a water crisis, hence, it necessitates the intervention of Big Business.

So, that's it---blame Napocor for the water mess, so that custody and administration of Angat Dam shifts from the energy to the DPWH department. And why is that? Because Rogelio Singson, a former water executive from Maynilad, now heads the DPWH, which has the MWSS under it.
How would things get better when during Singson's stint with Maynilad, he was unable to lower water leaks and pilferages lower than 56%?
 Imagine, last June 1, the Maynilad said it has effectively reduced water leaks and pilferages by 56%. Now, it says that it cannot service its water concession areas due to lack of water coming from Angat.

Its former chief executive, Rogelio Singson, who now heads the DPWH, says that it was Napocor's fault. Singson accuses Napocor of releasing 3-months worth of water during Typhoon Ondoy. Now, water levels in Angat are on its historic lows.

Curiously though, when affected residents of Manila burst one of Maynilad's pipes open, thousands of liters worth of water sprang forth, adding to the suspicion that Maynilad is just creating an artificial water shortage. 

If this is true, what's the objective?

The objective is as clear as day---create the necessary conditions to justify the privatization of MWSS and hence, privatization of Angat dam. And it is all too clear--whoever controls the dam, controls both water and electricity.

When Singson, a former executive of Maynilad Water (of MetroPac) accused Napocor (controlled by Jose Almendras, former executive of Manila Water) of causing the crisis, it was actually a play of sorts. Napocor of course, would later deny, but their denial was too lame.

In fact, Napocor validated Singson's accusation by saying that it indeed released water from the Angat dam. And why the validation?

It came so that charges of mismanagement of the dam are validated and that the cause of the water shortage would be attributed to human error or mismanagement instead of just blaming God for the mess.

What Singson and the MetroPac-Ayala wanted the public to believe is, "this would not have happened if Napocor was doing its job."

This is the message. And the solution? Privatize the management of the dams and turn them over to us, Maynilad-Manila Water. We are more efficient than government. 

Let's skirt the EPIRA law, then, and leave these dams to us. That is the win-win solution. Even if we, MetroPac-Ayala fails to get the bidding because we don't have enough money like San Miguel Corporation, we can still control the situation since we will be the administrators of the dam anyway with MWSS. And with MWSS under the administration of one of our former executives, then...

Singson was laying the predicate for the justification of a take-over of Napocor operations of the dam so that his former company, Maynilad and its partner, Manila Water would effectively take joint management of Angat dam.

What the Lopez-Ayala-MetroPac wants is for the new government to hand over Angat dam to them without costing them a cent. 

And why is the MetroPac-Ayala-Lopez group wants Angat dam? This is a juicy concession if they lose the bid for Angat's power plants.

Under the EPIRA law, the Angat dam will remain under government custody. It will only be the Angat's hydroelectric power plants that are to be auctioned off. 

What this group wants is for them to control the dam that produces electricity. You control the dam, you control the amount of electricity it produces and of course, the electricity rates. Fact is, whoever controls the dam, controls two precious commodities in this country: water and electricity. The sheer size of the service area is what makes the Angat dam bidding so juicy for big business. 

And it seems that a concession has already been made. 

Think about it--why were two water executives, from the Metro Pacific Investments Corporation and the Ayala Group, the group bidding for the Angat Hydroelectric power plants, placed in the public works and the energy department?

Rogelio Singson is a Maynilad guy of MetroPac and Jose Almendras of the Energy department is a Manila Water executive. Meanwhile, PSALM head Atty. Luz Caminero is a former associate of Justice Fidel Purisima, a relative of Finance secretary Cesar Purisima.

Is it entirely possible that this is in preparation for the privatization of MWSS and the National Water Resources Board--two key agencies responsible for the management of water resources? It seems likely since Singson initially wanted to occupy the MWSS board. And for what? To dilute its value preparatory for a bidding and eventual takeover of the Lopez-MetroPac-Ayala Group?

This is entirely problematic and outright shame if the new government relents on this dastardly plan by the Group.

First, the Lopez-MetroPac-Ayala Group is bidding for the Angat hydroelectric power plants. Among the three, it is the Lopezes who have interests in the power sector.

The Group is very close to the men behind the Aquino administration, particularly with the Hyatt 10 and the Mar Roxas group.

Now, what is totally problematic about the Angat hydroelectric power plant bidding is the involvement of very close Aquino associates.

You have San Miguel's Danding Cojuangco, the uncle and election supporter of Noynoy Aquino. He has since spent close to US$ 2 billion acquiring other power plants. Sources say he is determined to get Angat.

You have Trans-Asia Oil and Energy Development Corporation of Philma Group. Ramon del Rosario Jr. heads the Philma Group. The Del Rosario family is very close to the Aquino family. It already has several power plants.

You have the Aboitizes, already involved in the energy sector. The Aboitizes are direct enemies of the Lopezes. Remember the failed takeover of Meralco? The Aboitiz family is taking part in this bidding alongside its Norwegian partner. The Aboitiz spent close to US$ 1billion already, when it bought the Magat and  Ambuklao-Binga power plants.

MetroPac and the Ayala Group have merged to at least put a stronger force against their competitors. First Gen, the power company owned by the Lopezes, initially wanted to bid independently of its partner, Metro Pac, but already spent US$130 million acquiring the Pantabangan and Agusan power plants.

A new entrant, K-Power, is a Korean power company. It just bidded US$ 440.88 million for Angat, the only bidder so far without any other business interest in the local energy sector.

Okey, you have SMC, Aboitiz and K-Power at one side, the Phinma Group in the other and the MetroPac-Ayala-Lopez gang in another. The MetroPac and Ayala is using an Ayala Unit, the Michigan Power Incorporated as its main front.

Danding enjoys blood ties with the new administration and would definitely want nothing but a fair bidding. The del Rosarios expect the same thing, along with K-Power.

This is the first foray in the energy sector of Ayala and it wants nothing but victory. The group depends on the backing of men behind Noynoy Aquino, especially the Hyatt 10 and Lopezes who gave Noynoy all-out support last elections.

Sources in the energy sector believes that Danding would win this fight

Is it true that a concession has already been made with Danding having his power plants and the Ayala-Pangilinan-Lopez group getting their dams? Is it the reason why Singson and Almendras were appointed?

If this happens, this will be the FIRST SCANDAL that will surely hit this new administration.