‘Po(wer)litical’ PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 22 March 2016 11:36

BEHIND  THE  LINES

BY BOB JALDON

Los Angeles, CA. — Last March 15, during a forum of the National Association of Electricity Consumers for Reform at the Centro Latino, Mayor Ma. Isabelle G. Climaco-Salazar called for accountability and transparency by the board of directors of the Zamboanga City Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Zamcelco). She said that sufficient power “is an indispensable strategy (?) for economic development,” and it is Zamcelco’s responsibility to keep up with the progress being made by the city. (I’ll talk about ACCOUNTABILITY and TRANSPARENCY later in this column.)

Hasn’t Zamcelco been an open book ever since its clean up years ago with the firing of its general manager and suspension, if not expulsion, of some of its directors because of alleged irregularities and anomalies in the disbursement of funds? Each year (June), Zamcelco holds a general membership meeting during which time the accounting journals of the cooperative are made available to the consumer-members SO THAT THEY MAY MAY KNOW WHAT’S HAPPENING TO THEIR COOP.

The mayor also said that it was Zamcelco’s duty (?) to contract power under the best terms possible. She urged the board to expedite the process operationalizing the modular generating sets to ensure stable power and look to other potential power providers (like SMC, mayor?).

Hay, naku.  Right now, the Western Mindanao Power Corp. is supposed to supply 50 megawatts of power to Zamcelco. Therma Marine Inc. pumps in 18 megawatts. Mapalad Power inputs another 18 MW (but not for long) and Psalm generates only from 12 to15 MW from the contracted 40 MW. Sum these all up will give you 98 MW, more than enough than we can burn. However, due to imperative maintenance work on the diesel engines, these power providers in the meantime can only give a portion of their contracted power. The maintenance work will also put the engines in tip-top shape in preparation for the elections/vote counting.    Meanwhile, Zamcelco is helpless and will have to take the painful pinches and heavy punches from the member-consumers until the independent power producers can put their engines back into full throttle. This means, also, that Zamcelco would have to operate its modular gensets pronto to augment power. Zamboanga needs 12 megawatts right now to stay away from heat and darkness.

But the mayor’s third appeal stinks more than a skunk’s urine. She wants a team of lawyers formed to investigate how Zamcelco incurred a P1.2 billion debt, and rising, a system loss of more than 20 percent, a comprehensive loss of P128 million in 2014 and the unauthorized use of the Cooperative Fund Utilization amounting to P221 million in 2014. She further said that if the transactions are found to be anomalous, the board of directors of Zamcelco should be prosecuted.

I call this PO(WER)LITICS. Why? Two of the candidates for councilor of the Red Ticket were former members of the board at the time these irregularities were committed. And these two distinguished gentlemen are hardcore followers of Rep. Celso L. Lobregat. Oops. An eye for an eye... Why?

The honorable councilor from Talon-Talon Percival Ramos, was obviously used to set off a bomb (more like a firecracker made in Bulacan) to blow up certain alleged anomalies in the handling of donations for the reconstruction of devastated areas brought about by the September 2013 attack on Zamboanga. Specifically, Mr. Ramos’s target was the Masepla resettlement site where 150 houses were demolished by the city engineer’s office. Now, according to Mr. Ramos, the city government is asking for help of the International Organization for Migration to construct new houses in the same site where the 150 unoccupied houses were constructed and subsequently demolished for unexplained reasons.

Mr. Ramos is asking for ACCOUNTABILITY AND TRANSPARENCY as to where and how the money received from international donors, local government units, the private sector, non-government organizations and private citizens was spent. Was the money spent judiciously or stolen? Aha, as the mayor urged Zamcelco to be accountable and transparent at the way it handles its money, the statement boomeranged on her. Now, Mr. Ramos is asking for her head, too, although someone very influential was behind Ramos’s expose’. I know that Percy isn’t that mean of a person.

Like I said, the once good friends, are now mortal enemies. CROUCHING TIGER vs. HIDDEN DRAGON. He/She who has possession of the GREEN sword wins.