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I have said what I wanted to say yesterday. If government thinks they can do a better job in Meralco, they can go ahead and buy us out. But looking at how Napocor has and is still being mismanaged, I have my doubts government can do a better job. I am not interested in meeting with Mr. Garcia at this point because there is nothing more to talk about. I refuse to be drawn into Mr. Garcia's publicity game.

I also want to take exception to Mr. Garcia's and Mr. Bunye's statements that all they want from Meralco is transparency. Meralco had been as transparent as the law requires us to be. If there is anything wrong at all it is the fact that Meralco is even over regulated. We have the ERC, the SEC and COA going through all our books and transaction records all the time. Our supply contracts are approved by the ERC and we cannot charge one centavo more than we have been authorized by ERC. On the contrary, Meralco has even advanced billions of pesos in consumer subsidy, a large part of which remains uncollected today. Meralco, likewise, is one of the only utilities in the country that publishes its costs of purchased power from its various suppliers, including our own IPPs. As a listed issue, we are also in compliance with the transparency requirements of the Philippine Stock Exchange.

As I said yesterday, if government is serious in wanting to lower the rates of electricity distributed by Meralco, it will have to look into removing both the EVAT it imposes and the significantly large royalty it charges for Malampaya gas used by our IPP. We are one of the only countries that impose a huge tax on indigenous natural gas that is used by its own citizens.

As I said, I am sick and tired of being used as a convenient ploy to divert attention from other pressing problems of government. I stand by what I said.

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Lopez Holdings Corporation (formerly Benpres Holdings Corporation)
4/F Benpres Building, Exchange Road, 1605 Pasig City, Philippines

  • Trunkline: (632) 449-2345
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You are here: Home About the Company Speeches 2008 May 9, 2008: Statement of Oscar M. Lopez, chairman of First Philippine Holdings Corporation