NGO opposes sale of coop property PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 12 December 2015 11:38

By VIC LARATO

The National Association of Electricity Consumers for Reforms, Inc. (NASECOR) is preparing a battle plan that will block all moves to bail the Zamboanga City Electric Cooperative (Zamcelco) out from its huge debt by selling its eight-hectare property in Putik to a confidential buyer from Manila.

NESECOR President Pete Ilagan, who called on Mayor Beng Climaco in City Hall yesterday morning, stressed the proposed bailout offer to Zamcelco by an unknown buyer invoking “confidentiality as a term of reference” is not a solution to the problem.

“Definitely not,” Ilagan quickly replied when asked if his group will favor the selling out of Zamcelco property to pay its P1.1 billion debt.

“Ang posisyon po ng NASECOR dito ay hindi po dapat ibenta yan sapagkat ang isang monopolista ay hindi dapat nagbebenta dahil lamang napakalaki ang utang. Ang dapat sagutin muna bakit nagka-utang ng ganyang kalaki? Dapat managot ang yong dapat managot at yon ay ang management at Board ng Zamcelco,” Ilagan explained.

Joining Ilagan were the officers of the local chapter of NASECOR headed by Ramon “Monch” Follosco.

For her part, Mayor Climaco made it clear to NASECOR officials that the city government does not have a hand in the operation of Zamcelco neither does it have any control of the management and the Board.

“The local government is not into the delivery of electricity yet we are blamed for the blackouts,” the chief executive lamented, stressing that the role of LGU is to provide general services to its constituents and “electricity is beyond the purview of our authority, it is Zamcelco’s.”

Nonetheless, she said the city government has been doing everything within its means to remedy the power situation by finding ways on how to help Zamcelco cope with its financial losses.

Foremost, Climaco said, requests have been made asking the National Electrification Administration (NEA) to audit Zamcelco. “We are still waiting for the audit report.”

She also pointed out that Zamcelco management and the Board must explain in full details and transparency about the so-called system’s loss.

“The problem is that we do not have right now any documents or exact figures on systems and financial losses of Zamcelco,” the mayor said.

Climaco told the NASECOR officials that the city government’s alternative solution to the blackouts is for Zamcelco to contract enough power supply agreements without the so-called inclusive and confidential terms of reference.

“We want full transparency and accountability in any and all transactions that Zamcelco will enter into. We, as member-consumers, should know about the contracts or agreements that the cooperative has signed,” she said.

On the so-called “unsolicited and confidential offer” to buy Zamcelco property at P1.2 billion, Climaco said the offer itself is questionable because the buyer does not want to be identified and sale is confidential.

Another concern, the mayor said, Zamcelco’s debt is P1.1 billion and the bailout offer is P1.2 billion. “Where will Zamcelco get money to buy another property and construct new building, etc.?”

She said the city legal office is under her instruction to study the implications and legal basis of the bailout offer.

But City Legal Officer Jesus Carbon Jr. has advanced his opinion that Zamcelco being a public entity should not enter into any “confidential contracts.— Vic Larato