Dying Coop PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 18 February 2016 14:07

BEHIND  THE  LINES

BY BOB JALDON

Los Angeles, CA. — First thing’s first. We were in Las Vegas over the weekend to celebrate my youngest son’s birthday, Robbie, who flew in straight from Regina, Canada with his wife, Pam, and first-born son, Robert Maximus. A Valentino, Robert works as store manager in Regina and his wife is a bank employee, also in Regina. We had dinner at Joyful Restaurant at Las Vegas’s Chinatown is.

The night before Valentine’s Day, we partied at Krung Thai’s where Caloy Miguel and Jun Saavedra sing every Friday and on special occasions, like when Zamboanguenos from LA, Chicago or New York visit this city of a thousand lights, dozens of exciting entertainment and thrice as many casinos and bars. It was fun celebrating Monching and Eleanor Basilio’s wedding anniversary.

Now for the main agenda. A good friend who sometimes lives in Paranaque, most of the time in Zamboanga and quite as often as he can in Tagaytay couldn’t help but react to the power woes and power play in Zamboanga. After taking a breather from his heavy cerebral work two weeks ago, Attorney Vic R. Solid wrote that there are three major things that the Zamboanga City Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Zamcelco) need to address pronto.

These are: 1) sale of the Putik property to pay off or, at least, reduce its over P1 billion debt obligation; 2) bidding of the Investment and Management Contract (IMC) to pave the way for the entry of a private management group and the rehabilitation of its distribution grid; and 3) re-negotiation of its power sales agreement (PSA) with the San Ramon Power Inc. to establish an inextendible period of the start up and completion of the latter’s power plant in San Ramon.

The processes, he adds, leading up to the conclusion of these three subjects can be executed concurrently. And his punchline (he never misses delivering it) was: “It’s time to get Zamcelco out of the ICU  and into the recovery room.”

For those not in the know, Atty. Solis was a special legal counsel of Zamcelco back in the day of GM Rey Ramos. You see, Mr. Ramos, an accountant, left Zamcelco with a debt of about P400 million and a system’s loss of 16 percent. His replacement  was supposed to have reduced, or minimized, the system’s loss as well as as coop’s debt. The exact opposite happened. The debt was increased to nearly one billion pesos and the system’s loss rocketed to 22 percent. That’s why my poor caz got the boot.

Desperate to wipe out its staggering debt and start anew, Zamcelco now plans to sell its Putik property for a juicy amount that if consummated will give Zamcelco the cash it needs to pay off its debts, save some of the money for site development of a new property and save the coop from eternal flames. In between, it should now engage an investment management contractor to manage the coop and clean up the mess and make it financially sound.

It all makes sense!

Jorge Yeo complained the other day that parts of Zamboanga experienced an abrupt blackout of about eight hours. The reason? There was no power curtailment. It was a lines problem. Because of the rain, there was a prolonged blackout in the Tumaga feeder. Many have been complaining of line outages due to row problems, poor maintenance of lines and busted transformers. The line system of Zamcelco is greatly affected by continuous line overload. There is a need to revamp and upgrade the system.

The way I see it, The Zamcelco board and management are contentedly awaiting for the sale of its property to be perfected rather than paying serious attention to the urgent and present problems of the coop that demand immediate solutions.

As I’ve pointed out many times, power and water should be the main concerns of our politicians. Whoever presents the best solution to combat the effects of El Niño and provides sustainable answer to our power ailment should be voted upon.