City asks Zamcelco to clear power bills PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 10 May 2014 11:26

The city government, which allegedly owes the Zamboanga City Electric Cooperative (Zamcelco) P20 million in power bills, is asking the power firm to clear its list of offices with unpaid bills as some of those listed are national agencies.

City Administrator Antonio Orendain Jr. said it was found out Zamcelco’s list of city government offices with unpaid power bills had included the Bureau of Fire Protection, the Bureau of Treasury, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), Register of Deeds and Department of Education which are national agencies and are not part of the local government.

“We are trying to help Zamcelco and the city is willing to pay though late its debt but we are asking to delist the national agencies and we appeal for consideration because there are auditing rules and procedures to follow before any payment is made,” Orendain explained.

He said the City Accountant Office is advised to allow every office to follow up individual payment for electricity per month and not to lump the amount.

“We also wrote Zamcelco to give us a detailed statement and individualized statement of accounts for the offices. We want to know this because all offices have their budget for electricity,” the city administrator said.

He said Zamcelco should also understand government procedures unlike in the private sector where anybody can just pull money from the pocket and pay Zamcelco, “but not in government there are procedures to follow and the process takes time.”

Orendain also explained that the city account with Zamcelco was due to some fortuitous events like the Zamboanga siege in September last year, forcing thousands of internally displaced persons (IDPs) to stay at the Blaiswasan grandstand thus the need for electricity in the area.

Thus, he said the power consumption at the grandstand was not included in the city’s budget for 2014 because no one knew it would happen.

The city administrator likewise said Zamcelco should also go slow in cutting off power to health centers where there are refrigerated vaccines.

Nonetheless, Orendain believed the problem can be ironed out by and between the city government and Zamcelco in the service of the people of Zamboanga.

Besides, Orendain said, Zamcelco cannot claim that the city is not paying because every day it receives payment, if ever we have unpaid power bills it’s the electricity at the evacuation centers of the IDPs.— Vic Larato