Independent think-tank IBON advised against using the ongoing energy summit in further promoting foreign investments in the energy sector, particularly in the burgeoning biofuels industry.

According to the Department of Energy the summit is a “listening and hearing out” session involving all stakeholders in the local energy sector in order to draft longer-term solutions to the country’s energy problems, such as high oil prices. But IBON research head Sonny Africa noted that the summit is being used to further promote foreign investment in alternative fuels, such as biofuels, as a solution to the current oil crisis.

This step, he said, would only intensify further foreign control over the local energy industry. In the oil industry, for instance, the exclusive control of the industry by oil transnational corporations is the reason behind high pump prices. “There must first be a recognition that the worsening global energy insecurity is because of this dominance,” he said.

There is no question about the necessity to develop alternative sources of energy in order to confront pressing issues such as high oil prices, he said. “But to effectively address these issues there is a need to radically change the framework that countries use to develop other renewable energy sources, including biofuels.”

This requires making governments the central players in the national exploration, development and utilization of alternative sources of energy if poor countries are to achieve energy security and independence. At present, most biofuels programs in the Third World are designed to rely heavily on foreign capital and technology, and external markets. Such programs thus end up merely creating more opportunities for First World TNCs exploit the natural resources of developing countries.

Energy independence can only be achieved if energy resources are effectively controlled and managed by the state, and not by corporate interests. Effective state control, for instance, would prevent the wanton conversion of agricultural lands for biofuels production and ensure that the rights of farmers to their land, as well as national food security, would not be compromised.


Conference on Ethical Governance

Dear Friends,

Warmest greetings!

The Philippines Transparency and Accountability Council (PTAC), an independent people’s council would like to invite you to a Conference on Ethical Governance on November 23, 2007, from 8:00 AM-5:00 PM at the Penthouse, UP Law Center, Quezon City.

Most Rev.Luis Antonio Tagle, Bishop of the Diocese of Imus and Court Administrator Zenaida N. Elepano will be the keynote speakers. A workshop will follow in the afternoon.

PTAC is a gathering of non-partisan and independent minded individuals acting as a point of initiative to create public focus on the issue of corruption. It also aims to promote the people’s call for genuine democratic governance as the long lasting solution to this problem.

The conference aims to gather individuals, sectors, organizations and groups to come up with timely resolutions and concrete actions that will somehow address the systemic and endemic problem of graft and corruption which continuous to reach an alarming proportion.

It is a big challenge to us Filipinos to take a decisive and sustained action. The conference is a step towards working for the moral upliftment of our nation. Your participation will be greatly appreciated.

For inquiries, please contact 425-1387 and look for Ms. Susan Cruz or Ms. Reileen Joy Dulay or send your email through scruz@ibon.org or rdulay@ibon.org

In solidarity,

Most Rev. Deogracias Iniguez, D.D.

Bishop, Diocese of Kaloocan

Antonio Tujan, Jr.

Director, IBON International