Groups Call For Transparency Before Congress Vote To Grant PNoy Emergency Powers

Energy and environmental justice groups such as Philippine Movement for Climate Justice, Health Care Without Harm, Greenpeace, EcoWaste Coalition, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, and Green Convergence today condemn the apparent haste in the House of Representatives to pass the resolution to grant President Noynoy Aquino III emergency power, and demand for a public consultation before they vote on the matter.

“In the guise of solving an artificial energy crisis, the suspension of related laws in House Joint Resolution 21 will not relieve us of our problems but exacerbate the Filipino people’s vulnerability by burying us deeper in economic, health, and environmental problems,” pointed out Kathryn Leuch, energy policy campaigner of the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice.

“If this crisis is remotely true, it behooves the House of Representatives to involve the people in deciding whether or not an emergency power is necessary; and whether or not we, the people, are ready to give up policies that protect our general welfare to go with it,” Leuch demanded.

For her part, Merci Ferrer of Health Care Without Harm declared that, “Instead of reinforcing policies that advance our rights and welfare, HJR21 gives the President the right to bypass those policies. Moreover, it is unacceptable to grant the President emergency power that erodes our democratic processes as House Joint Resolution 21 circumvent laws and trample on people’s rights to resist projects which are detrimental to them,” Ferrer added.

As mandated in the resolution, all national government agencies and local government units are authorized to suspend the operability of pertinent laws, rules, and regulations including, but not limited to mitigating measures adopted for the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM), the Biofuels Act, Clean Air Act, The Philippine Grid Code, The Philippine Distribution Code, which may affect the operation and transmission of the contracted generation capacities under the Joint Resolution.

Von Hernandez, Greenpeace Executive Director and EcoWaste Coalition President pointed out that, “This administration is squandering the opportunity to do the right thing and make the correct decisions for our future. Instead of meeting our energy challenges in a democratic and enlightened manner given what science is already telling us about toxics pollution and climate change, technocrats and politicians of this administration remain myopic, intent on deepening the country’s dependence on discredited and polluting powers sources.”

“Instead of prioritizing energy efficiency and renewable energy—as mandated by the Renewable Energy Act of 2008, to ensure that the country’s energy needs are met through safe, clean and sustainable energy sources— this government continues to give premium to dirty, polluting and unsustainable energy sources like coal-fired power plants and waste-to-energy incineration schemes,” Hernandez added.