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PHL flag flutters anew in Japan property

OVER the weekend, one welcome news that greeted the country (outside of the Azkals’ triumph in Hong Kong, the resurgence of the stock market and the upcoming upgrades) was the hoisting of the Philippine tricolor in Nampeidai, a shopping and leisure district in Tokyo, Japan. That property was earlier sold in a 50-year build-operate-transfer scheme to businessman Masahiro Nagayama in a 2008 transaction that had many Filipinos protesting, as it forms part of the war-reparations payment to the country.

Philippine Ambassador to Japan Manolo Lopez made that symbolic raising of the Philippine flag in a simple ceremony dubbed “Balik Nampeidai.” It was a culmination of an eight-year litigation that saw the Japanese winning his case before the Regional Trial Court in Pasay City in 2008 before the Court of Appeals thumbed down the deal.

The deal is said to stink to high heavens, with the transaction said to have been non-transparent and smacked of slush funds paid to brokers. The Filipino community in Japan protested against it, as it meant the selling of an asset considered part of national patrimony. Credit for the recovery of the property goes to the triumvirate of Lopez, Foreign Secretary Alberto del Rosario and Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza.

 

First Gen woes

FIRST Gen, the listed power company of the Lopezes, may have to make do with lower revenues due to a fire that struck its San Lorenzo power plant. The stock-market talk is that the company may be forced to declare a force majeure because the fire, which hit the plant’s transformer in its Unit 60, could affect the delivery of its contracted capacity to the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco).

The plant has a rated capacity of 500 megawatts, but because of the fire, its generating capacity has been reduced by 250 MW. This means that it could only be paid just half, and even that is not yet sure. Under its contract with Meralco, First Gen can charge the full 500 MW it generates even when it can only deliver 83 percent of what is deemed as net-dependable capacity. But since half of the contracted amount is affected, it can only be paid the 250 MW.

First Gen’s problem is that spare parts are hard to come by and it would need about six months, since the transformer’s bushings have been affected. That means the company will have reduced revenues until December should a scheduled net-dependable capacity test slated for the next two months show that the 250 MW of its capacity has been affected as a result of the fire.

 

Casiño to push for social reforms

MAKABAYAN bloc’s Teddy Casiño, who lost his Senate bid, vows to pursue “social reforms” from the outside, and that has certainly warmed the hearts of members of the Digitel Employees Union, who are fighting for their cause in dominant telco Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co.

Casiño, who “graduated” from his stint in the House of Representatives, promised to push for his advocacy for the passage of progressive measures. He was supposed to have been the Senate pointman for measures that were passed in the House. Once again, there are seven representatives who were elected under the party-list system of the so-called Makabayan bloc.

Said the third-termer: “I am very much satisfied with my accomplishments in my nine years in Congress, but there are still a lot of issues that need to be addressed by lawmakers. At the same time, there is a strong need for advocates who can take up people’s issues in the Senate. While Makabayan party-list representatives have been gaining ground in the House of Representatives, marginalized sectors have yet to find reliable partners in the upper house.” So Casiño will continue to provide a voice to the marginalized “from the outside.”

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