Monday, September 1, 2008

Revolution Precedes Good Governance

While apologists of appeasement from mainstream media, government, and foreign-sponsored NGOs on the MoA-AD obfuscate the issues, other tentacles of Western imperialism continue to rape our economy and deceive our people. The Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (Wesm), for instance, will raise power rates by P1 per kilowatt-hour, at a time when it should be drastically lowering rates because of much lower fuel costs. At the same time, while the people awaken to US imperialism as they witness its manipulation of the Arroyo-MILF MoA-AD swindle, the US-sponsored Ramon Magsaysay Awards is propagating false hopes and palliatives through do-gooder “icons” to counter the nation’s rising revolutionary consciousness.

The Electric Power Industry Reform Act (Epira) created the Wesm supposedly as a market clearing house to promote competitive pricing (or lower rates), as well as, prevent market manipulation. But the truth should now be obvious to all -- the Wesm has brought about the reverse of all that it had promised. What it has only succeeded to remove is any regulation on the power sector, whereby Independent Power Producers (IPPs) and distributors now charge the highest rates possible under “prevailing” supply conditions.

Take the most recent rate increase excuse: Low-cost coal and natural power plants tripped and broke down, causing the average price to rise due to purchases from high-cost, fossil-fueled generation plants through the Wesm.

Under ideal circumstances, Meralco, for instance, should buy straight from the National Power Corporation (Napocor) where electricity prices are always cheaper. But the Epira prevents this because it mandates all electricity supplies to be bought only through the Wesm, where power distribution and IPP companies have interlocking participation -- meaning, control and interests beyond the purview of the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC). This is how Meralco manipulates prices by buying from its sister IPPs instead of Napocor. Furthermore, the Wesm also adds a layer of profit for electricity traders -- another one of the many abuses now part of our system because of Epira.

In contrast, during pre-Epira days, the now defunct Energy Regulatory Board had real power and ensured public review as the State monopoly averaged electricity rates from its broad generation mix.

Meanwhile, there’s been much hoopla over the Ramon Magsaysay (RM) Awards. I wonder, though, if the great Asian anti-colonial, independence leaders and nation-builders would have gotten such awards. As I reviewed the RM Awards list from 1958 to the present, I could not find the truly great Asians there, such as Mahatma Gandhi, Mao Tse Tung, Chou En Lai, Deng Xiao Peng, Ho Chi Minh, Sukarno, Rahman, Mahathir and others. Sure, there are a lot of Asian do-gooders who are worthy of awards for their individual achievements and good deeds, but to project this award as a standard for leadership for the nations of Asia is stretching it too far. At its worst, it is used as a platform for launching US mascots for political leadership in the region, especially in the Philippines .

The headlines ensuing from the present RM Awards is “good governance,” as if that motherhood statement is the complete, definitive final answer to the crises plaguing many Asean nations like the Philippines . The proposition identifies itself both as a definition of the problem and the solution: There is bad governance; therefore, the solution is good governance. But it skips the middle question: What prevents good governance from happening? The standard answer as always is corruption. Yet China , India and Vietnam all have corruption. So why are they registering fantastic growth rates while the Philippines languishes? With its so-called “free press,” the Philippines certainly cannot be more corrupt than those countries!

Truth is, progressive Asian countries have patriotic and revolutionary leadership. There is no benefit to a nation if the much-touted “good governance” is tailored to foreign interests with a domestic exploitative clique in tow.

Would the RM Awards recognize advocates of actions such as: 1) rejection of unjust foreign debt; 2) protection of the national patrimony and economy from foreign exploitation; and 3) pursuit of an independent international policy?

Surely, can any good governance succeed if 70 percent of a country’s revenues go to debt payment? Can a nation grow if it is a net capital exporter because foreign and local corporations are siphoning huge profits out? Can a nation survive while being subservient to foreign interests and international relations?

We started this column by citing the electricity sector because it typifies the foreign corporate control and abuse of Philippine wealth. Then we shifted to the RM Awards for its questionable standards.

Grace Padaca is a good human being and an honest local leader, but whether she will be a paradigm for national leadership as the US-funded RM Awards and Joe Almonte’s “Kaya Natin” project is grooming her to be remains to be seen.

Or will she be just another Cory Aquino, an immaculate Western-supported figure who started this nation’s march to collapse?

Perhaps expectedly, keynoting the awards was Big Business scion Augusto Zobel de Ayala, big captain of the Ayala group that raised our water rates by 2,000 percent, on top of the billions in tax holidays it obtained from the Arroyo government, which it helped install in 2001. The Ayalas’ feigned role in nurturing “good governance” reminded me of Keynes’ words: “Capitalism is the extraordinary belief that the nastiest of men for the nastiest of motives will somehow work for the benefit of all.”

Philippine society needs a complete overhaul with its system turned inside out -- its rulers and institutions subservient to Western, corporate and feudal interests completely replaced by patriotic and revolutionary leadership that kowtows only to the nation and the people’s welfare.

In specific terms, the new leadership must: Free the nation of its Debt Trap; pursue its self-reliance and self-sustainability, as well as, reserve all public utilities and natural resources for national development, and never for profit; build a strong and independent defense system, including a people’s army; pursue an independent foreign policy with emphasis on relations will anti-imperialist nations such as Venezuela; and support a multi-polar world that gives more room for smaller nations to grow.

Revolution or systemic change -- one that’s peaceful or otherwise -- precedes good governance. The present crises we face, from the economic collapse to the continuing threat of Mindanao ’s dismemberment, should awaken and galvanize all Filipinos to gravitate toward the leadership of patriots, from political leaders like President Estrada to nationalist intellectuals like Ding Lichauco, to soldier-leaders like General Danilo Lim, Senator Antonio Trillanes and the Bagong Katipuneros (a.k.a. Magdalos).

(Tune in to: Talk News TV on GNN, Destiny Cable Channel 3, tomorrow at 8:45 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. with guest, Cuban Amb. Jorge Rey Jimenez; Kape’t Kamulatan, Kabansa on 1098AM, Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 9 a.m.; and Sul√≥ ng Pilipino every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. on the same station.)