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2nd reading nod of Senate on bill to expand Davao Light’s area lauded

A consumer group in Davao del Norte has welcomed the Senate nod to the proposal to include the rest of the province in the franchise area of the Davao Light and Power Co.

However, the group, the DavNor Modernization Movement, felt dismayed that Maco, the Davao de Oro municipality next to the capital of Davao del Norte, Tagum City, was dropped from the proposal.

“We are dismayed by this development because it will prevent progress in Maco — a strategic port municipality adjacent to the commercial city of Tagum,” said Ava Rose Castillo, convenor of the group, in a statement.

But Castillo is confident that the next officials of Davao de Oro “will not let politics prevent Davao de Oro and its people from enjoying cheaper electricity and better service.”

On Thursday, the Senate approved on second reading the proposal, which has passed the House of Representatives, that would place the remaining areas of Davao del Norte under the franchise area of Davao Light.

The legislative body made the move after it closed the period of interpellation and amendment..

The measure was sponsored by Senator Grace Poe and was defended on the Senate floor by Senator Ralph Recto against questions from Senators Sherwin Gatchalian and Risa Hontiveros. 

However, because of the opposition of the officials of Davao de Oro, Maco was dropped from the proposal even when its municipal government passed a resolution for its inclusion.

The Davao del Norte provincial government and its municipal government each came up with their respective resolutions supporting the proposal as it would put the province under a company known for providing an affordable and efficient electricity service.

Davao Light, aside from servicing Davao City, has also been servicing Panabo City and the towns of Sto. Tomas, Braulio E. Dujali and Carmen, all in Davao del Norte, since 1976.

The company has also been the transmission arm of the power through the cable system that flows to the Island Garden City of Samal.

The North Davao Electric Cooperative, the service provider of the area, announced it has started a 14-kilometer cable system project that will connect Samal to its transmission system even as the Energy Regulatory Commission has not approved the  P1.8 billion project.

Castillo has questioned the implementation of the cable system project as she believes this will result in higher rates as the fund being spent for it will eventually be passed on to consumers.

She said it would have been better had the cooperative decided to upgrade the cable system connected to the Davao Light system as this is cheaper and for the cooperative to wait for the setting of the bridge between the two cities where the transmission system can be placed under.

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