BDO tops gas financing among Ph banks, enabler of higher power bills, climate change

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The Power for People Coalition (P4P)

The Power for People Coalition (P4P) on Thursday trooped to the corporate headquarters of BDO Unibank on the eve of the its annual stockholders’ meeting, calling out the bank for financing expensive electricity from gas.

A report released Wednesday showed that BDO poured the most funds into gas projects by power companies since the turn of the decade. P4P has repeatedly raised alarm over the volatility of gas power prices due to the need to import liquefied natural gas as fuel.

“BDO took the biggest slice of the $1.3 billion funneled by local banks into the gas industry in the period 2021-2023. What makes this number more alarming is that BDO did not have any exposure to gas projects until 2021, which means that BDO is committing massive resources to fossil fuels even as it claims to have steered clear of funding coal projects,” said Gerry Arances, Convenor of P4P.

The report said that BDO financed gas projects in the country to the tune of $356 million, or around ₱20.3 billion at current exchange rates. Some of the projects financed by the bank include the 1,700-megawatt (MW) combined cycle plant of San Miguel Corporation (SMC) in Batangas and First Gen’s 500MW San Lorenzo and the 97MW Avion plants.

“Nakahanap ng paraan ang BDO na gumawa ng pera. Yun nga lang, tayong mga konsyumer ang magbabayad nito. Sa pagpapautang ng BDO sa mga malalaking proyekto ng gas sa bansa gamit ang mga deposito ng taumbayan, tumutulong ang bangko na lalo pang tumaas ang presyo ng kuryente at sa pagpapatuloy ng krisis sa klima,” said Ka Leody de Guzman of the Partido Lakas ng Masa, a part of the P4P.

De Guzman noted that BDO’s business strategy is causing misery to Filipinos that have made the bank one of the largest in the country.

“Sa gas, may two-hit combo sa mga Pilipino – mas mataas na bill sa kuryente at mas mainit pang panahon. Ok lang yan sa BDO, kasi kaya nilang bayaran paggamit ng aircon nila mula sa kinita nila, pero siguro may paraan naman kumita na hindi magdurusa ang mga ordinaryong Pilipino,” he said. 

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