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Friday, 01 December 2017 14:08

BEHIND  THE  LINES

BY BOB JALDON

San Jose, CA. — Twice failed, the third and last attempt for an Investment and Management Contract for the near-bankrupt Zamboanga City Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Zamcelco) will be on December 14 - granting that Meralco submits its bid - as ardently announced by Board President Omar Sahi. After coming to terms with the only bidder to amend the Terms of Reference, specifically in the hiring of the general manager, the process is a done deal.

We have always maintained that the IMC is the most desirable thing that can happen to Zamcelco and its incensed consumers who are often infuriated by abrupt power outages. I have also consistently argued that the best person to see the IMC executed is the well-connected Mr. Celso L. Lobregat (PDP-Laban), the distinguished congressman from the first district of the soon-to-be federal state of Zamboanga.

After the bid is accepted, the proposal will be discussed by the coop members during a general assembly. The National Electrification Administration (NEA) will have the final say. The IMC will streamline Zamcelco’s operations and guarantee financial viability, something that has been absent the last 30 years. One of the major concerns here is to scale down the staggering system’s loss of Zamcelco from 22 percent to about 9 percent.

Zamboanga city requires at least 103 megawatts of power daily. Right now, we get electricity from PSALM’s hydro plants and other independent power providers. the Western Mindanao Power Corp. is the biggest power provider with 50 MW.

The IMC is the answer to our woes and uncertain future as far as electricity is concerned. Eventually, Zamcelco will become a firm that will deliver efficient and sufficient power to its consumers. Mr. Lobregat made sure of that. I have stated like a broken record that Zamcelco can be fixed by men not necessarily of extraordinary intelligence, but by people of unquestionable public service and integrity. I even suggested that if Mr. Lobregat isn’t a career politician, he is best suited to be Zamcelco’s GM.

Last year, I wrote about SPECTRE — Steady Power for Electric Consumers Through Reliable Energy. This can well happen when Meralco takes over the financial and administrative operations of Zamcelco. Also noted is the importance of a planned coal-driven power plant in San Ramon. This plant will have a generating capacity of 105 megawatts and will be the second embedded power plant in Zamboanga, a clear assurance that Zamboanga will have sustained and affordable power supply for the next 25 years beginning when the plant becomes operational by 2020.

These power premiums should make us happy. With steady energy supply comes the promise of seventh heaven with the influx of capital investment. Investors will revolve around Zamboanga and drive her to economic prosperity.

Our leaders, living and dead, have worked hard to attain this blissful, flourishing goal that started with the creation of the Zamboanga Economic Zone Authority and Freeport authored by Mrs. Maria Clara L. Lobregat and the City Investment Code crafted by Atty. Ric Baban. We should thank them for these twin fortunes.