TUCP bucks sale of government stake in Petron

Published by rudy Date posted on August 12, 2008

from The Philippine Star

The country’s largest labor group has expressed strong opposition to the planned sale of the government’s 40-percent stake in Petron Corp.

Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) general secretary and former Sen. Ernesto Herrera said the government should keep the share instead of selling it.

“We see no absolute need for the government to sell out of Petron. The investment is generating income,” he said.

The Department of Finance (DOF) has announced plans to sell the government’s equity in Petron, held indirectly through the state-owned Philippine National Oil Co. (PNOC), as part of an effort to generate extra cash.

Herrera said the government should instead use its Petron stake to encourage the oil giant to invest in a big way in alternative energy sources.

“The cash dividends should be deliberately used to finance the development and production of renewable energy sources, primarily solar, wind, hydro, or even waste-based biomass (energy) projects.” “The government should make full use of its equity in Petron, toward lessening the country’s over-dependence on imported and costly crude oil,” Herrera added.

According to Herrera, the government can build community-based livelihood programs around biomass energy projects.

He said some said projects can involve the farmers themselves directly selling coconut husks and shells, or even rice hulls, for conversion into biomass gas for small power plants.

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