THE call for a takeover of the remaining franchise area of the North Davao Electric Cooperative (Nordeco, formerly the Davao del Norte Electric Cooperative) in Davao del Norte has gained traction after Gov. Edwin Jubahib joined the move.
In a video circulating online over the weekend which was first posted by newsline.ph, Jubahib joined the call for Nordeco to turn over its remaining franchise area in the province to Davao Light and Power Co. (Davao Light) which has been providing electricity to its three towns and Panabo City since 1976.
The governor said he has initiated a barangay referendum to call on the residents of the province to appeal to the national government to terminate the franchise of the cooperative “because its services have not improved.” The franchise of the cooperative is set to expire in 2023.
In 2019, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi pushed for the termination of the franchise of Daneco and other ailing cooperatives.
Jubahib explained that it is time for the province to have a better electricity provider as this is important for its growth economically and for its residents.
“My concern is the consumers of Davao del Norte; I am a public servant for the people (of Davao del Norte, I am not a public servant of just one,” Jubahib said in the video, pointing out that he also learned that the cooperative has borrowed an additional P1 billion for its operations “without informing the people.”
Jubahib urged the management of the cooperative, particularly manager Mario Angelo Sotto, to turn over its remaining franchise area in the province to Davao Light and focus itself in providing power to Davao de Oro.
An online petition for the takeover has been posted on the website www.change.org since last year.
This developed as a member of the House of Representatives from the province has agreed with the call of Island Garden City of Samal Mayor Al David T. Uy, for Congress to investigate the reported P200 million loan that the cooperative has borrowed to improve the electricity in the island city.
In the comment section of Uy’s post, Davao del Norte Second District Rep. Alan Dujali said he “will bring before Congress the concern of the people of Samal.”
In a private message sent to TIMES, Uy said he will send “an official letter of request” to the cooperative to explain the loan.
He said that he received a report that the cooperative filed the loan between 2010 and 2012 when it was engulfed in a controversy following the split in its management between the group that was affiliated with the National Electrification Administration (NEA) and the Cooperative Development Authority.
He added that the loan was granted in 2016 when the cooperative was eventually taken over by the one affiliated with NEA after courts decided in its favor.
He said based on his estimates, Nordeco’s 200,000 consumers have paid P40 a month under the category Capex (capital expenditures) in their bills.”
“Wait, if you borrowed in 2016 and it is now 2021, you have collected P480 million (for the loan). That is more than the P200 million that you borrowed,” he said.
Meanwhile, in denying the accusation that he was offered money just to join the call for the takeover of the cooperative’s franchise area, Jubahib said the cooperative should have sought the opinion of the consumers over its projects as he questioned the motive of the entity of setting up a P1.8 billion submarine cable between Pantukan, Davao de Oro and the Island Garden City of Samal.
Jubahib said the loan for the project will also increase the rates imposed on the consumers of the cooperatives which, to his estimate, is between P11 and P14 at present.
At present, the submarine cable is attached to the Davao Light transmission system in Davao City which is just about a kilometer from the island city compared with Pantukan which is 14 kilometers.
Sotto, appointed by President Rodrigo R. Duterte in 2017 to supervise the cooperative, late last year confirmed to this reporter that the entity has started to build the submarine cable between Pantukan and Samal.
In answer to Jubahib and aired in the same video, Sotto denied the claim that there was no consultation on the Pantukan-Samal project, saying that it was during the assembly, attended by 25,000 people, that it was approved.
In a previous interview with TIMES, Sotto also accused some politicians in the franchise area of Nordeco of spearheading the takeover for their personal gains.
Managing Editor at Mindanao Times
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