National Electrification Administration chief Edgardo Masongsong bared Thursday in press conference in Davao City that he has formed the Task Force Duterte Northern Davao Power to troubleshoot and rehabilitate eleven ailing electric cooperatives most of which are in Mindanao.
He said that the task force was formed last month but it has made some inroads already like in the ailing electric cooperatives in ARMM areas particularly the Lanao del Sur Electric Cooperative.
He cited that of the 121 electric coops in the country 11 are categorized by NEA as ailing and “almost all” of these are located in ARMM.
“May unique condition kasi ang Lanao del Sur, subukan mong kulektahing lahat, and on the next day, tumba lahat yang transmission towers,” Masongsong said in jest, apparently referring to low collection problem in those areas.
He cited the factors of calamity, peace and order, political intervention and governance issues as contributing causes why electric coops became ailing as characterized by their high power debts, matured debts, loan restructuring actions, low collection and others.
“Yong political interventions can be yong pakikialam sa mga politiko sa electric cooperatives o yong hindi pagbabayad ng municipal o provincial government sa kanilang electric bill,” he said, adding that the State-run PSALM is currently saddled with P11 billion power debts.
Masongsong expressed optimism on the current straightening drive of General Acmad Mamalinta, the manager of the electric coop in Lanao del Sur, where Mindanao hydropower source, Lake Lanao, sits.
The 11 ailing electric coops affect over 11.6 million members consumers while as of December last year there were 23,464 sitios that were not yet energized since time immemorial, over 11,000 of which are in Mindanao, which become the challenge of Duterte administration to wipe up in the next five years in its thrust of giving reliable, efficient, affordable and cheap power supply to the Filipinos.
As to Davao del Norte Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Daneco, Inc.) that suffered series of killings of its spokesmen and a general manager by yet unknown forces, Masongsong warned that the so-called “Daneco-CDA” group “will suffer if they continue to operate… in clandestine way.”
The NEA and CDA led by Duterte appointees are now working jointly to solve the Daneco problem, even as a source said that Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco had accordingly fumed mad over the killing of Daneco general manager Maximo Roxas Jr October last year. He wanted that Roxas’ killing should already be “the last” and Daneco problem relating “Daneco CDA” group should finally end during Duterte administration, the source said.
On the still unrevoked CDA registration of the now scarce rival group, Masongsong said, “the pressure is now at the CDA” even as he reechoed that the Supreme Court had already rendered a decision that the “Daneco CDA was illegally constituted”.
There is a need to know why the group has continued to operate clandestinely, Masongsong told reporters.
Last month, the ” Daneco CDA” group held its purported general assembly and managed to gather tens of hundreds of Daneco members.
Daneco, Inc. spokesmen who were killed reportedly stemming from the conflict were its paid broadcaster Tata Butalid in 2014 and board president and mediaman Loloy Ybanez in 2015.
Its current OIC general manager Benedicto Ongking also survived a slay try by unidentified riding in tandem in 2013.
Meanwhile, it was also learned during the presscon Thursday at Ponce Suites, that the National Summit of Electric Cooperatives and the NEA-EC national consultative conference will be held in Tagum City on April 26 and April 27-28, respectively.
NEA’s presscon also presented the newly formed National Center of Electric Coop Consumers (NCECCO), Inc., which according to its secretary general Ka Eric Bucoy, will aspire to be a powerful consumerist group of member-consumer-owners of electric coops. It will also assist and be a watchdog of NEA.
Bucoy dispelled a question that it will become a partylist by 2019.
Masongsong also said that pursuant to the vision of President Duterte, NEA is veering away from being “infrastructure focused to sustainable, globally competitive electric coops with empowered member-owners and with NEA that is dynamic and responsive.” (mindanaosunchronicle.com/Cha Monforte)
National Electrification Administration honcho Edgardo Masongsong (left) answers queries from reporters in Davao Region converging Thursday at Ponce Suites in Davao City.