Resolve to resolve PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 30 March 2017 10:51

BEHIND  THE  LINES

BY BOB JALDON

San Jose, CA. — Because of some strange fog that clouds some financial hush-hush, the scheduled opening of bids for an Investment Management Contract (IMC) to run the Zamboanga City Electric Cooperative (Zamcelco) was deferred for the third time last Monday. Accordingly, two main issues have remained unresolved: who will be the general manager when the IMC takes over the dying electric cooperative and the ticklish financial statement that will expose how much Zamcelco owes the world of power. Why is Zamcelco in the red? Because of bad management and financial mismanagement.

Nevertheless, Zamcelco is not beyond salvation if only its management is truthful enough to divulge its financial standing. If it’s over ONE BILLION PESOS, say so! If the system’s loss is 21 percent, say so!

Upon intercession, Zamcelco and the bidders were asked to submit this critical issues to the National Electrification Administration (NEA) before the re-enactment of the crucifixion (Holy Week) or be themselves crucified by the utterly disgusted consumers and antipathetic politicians who have been waiting for two-long years for this day of deliverance.

These points of dispute have been raised twice. There’s another eye-popping issue that was brought up by the bidders — Meralco and Aboitiz: who will pay for the more than ONE HUNDRED MILLION PESOS, 16-megawatt modular generating sets, useless as they may be, the IMC or Zamcelco? Per my source, Zamcelco will, out of its 40 percent income share. There’s one more: who will refund the overcharged monthly billings to the consumers the last two years, the IMC or Zamcelco? This figure totals more than P500 million.

Yesterday, some big shot from them thar shooting city of Manila emailed me the following: the reps of Zamcelco, NEA and the bidders... must sequester themselves before Holy Week until all issues are resolved. If no common grounds are found, the IMC is KAPUT! Not a pleasant scenario (for Zamboanga).

Zamcelco board president Omar Sahi said the bidders’ issues will be submitted to the Zamcelco board for discussion (OTRAVES!). He didn’t give a hint what these issues are — although I already stated them above.

Any which way we look at it, Zamcelco is under the mercy of power providers. Yes, we have enough power supply at this time. We need about 93 megawatts to light up everything at peak load. For now, we’re safe with the figures, unless there’s a curtailment of power by any of our power providers.

I have insisted, and I state again, that Zamcelco can be fixed by men not necessarily with extraordinary intelligence, but my people,of unquestionable integrity. If only Mr. Celso L. Lobregat were not a politician, he is best suited to be Zamcelco’s GM.

I’ve written about SPECTRE (not the James Bond movie). It means Steady Power to Electric Consumers Through Reliable Energy. That can only happen if an IMC takes over Zamcelco at this point of the ballgame with two minutes left on the game clock. This is why the bidding must not fail for the fourth time when the players meet again.

The other interesting story is that Alsons Power Group has started its site development for its projected coal-driven power plant in San Ramon, adjacent to the complex of the Zamboanga City Special Economic Zone Authority and Freeport. The fencing of the property has been completed, and some of the construction materials have been slowly trucked in. This plant will have a generating capacity of 100 megawatts and will be the second of two plants embedded in Zamboanga city — a clear assurance that Zamboanga will have sustained and affordable power supply for the next 25 years starting in 2019 when the plant becomes operational.

The stakeholders — WE — are cheerful about the future of power. With steady supply of electricity comes a promise of seventh heaven as far as capital investment is concerned. Investors will perambulate around Zamboanga and drive her to economic prosperity. Our leaders have worked hard to reach this blissful goal that started with the creation of the Zamboecozone and the enactment of the City Investment Code 22 years ago. We have Mrs. Maria Clara L. Lobregat and Atty. Ricardo Baban, Jr., respectively, to be thankful for these twin economic marvels.