Some 3,000 residents of the Island Garden City of Samal held a rally outside the office of the Northern Davao Electric Cooperative Inc. (NORDECO) early Wednesday to express their disgust at its alleged failure to stabilize the power supply in the city.
Residents have slammed the high electricity rate and the failure of NORDECO to address their concerns in providing the consumers with stable electricity service for more than six years.
NORDECO officials had yet to respond to queries for comment from the Standard as of posting time.
Island Garden City of Samal Vice Mayor Lemuel Reyes, who also attended the rally, said they are experiencing five to six brownouts per day since 2016, that’s why many of their residents have broken appliances and their livelihoods were severely affected.
In an interview, Vice Mayor Reyes said that some students are forced to go to school without taking a bath because their water supply is also connected to the electricity.
Reyes also added that the electricity problem directly affects their tourism and the chance of getting investors, stressing that businessmen would often ask if there is sufficient electricity in the island.
“We are growing [in investments] kaso nga lang nauudlot. Maraming gustong pumasok, ‘pag tinatanong ‘yung koryente tapos [hindi naman masiguro] dahil ‘di naman stable, wala kaming magawa,” Reyes said.
The Vice Mayor also shared that some tourists stay in the hotels for a brief time due to frequent brownouts on the island.
“Tinatanong nila palagi [investors] ‘kamusta ang kuryente dito?’ hindi namin masagot… Tska mahal pa, P19 per kilowatt hour (kWh), ‘yung sa kabila nasa P12 lang yata… tapos hindi naman maganda ang serbisyo,” Reyes added.
Meanwhile, the rallyists called on President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to act on the long-standing grievances of their area.
“We hope that our President BBM will come to our rescue and help us to have a decent supply of water and electricity,” Reyes said.
The local government unit fully supports the House Bill No. 6740 filed by Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta (PBA) Partylist representative Margarita Ignacia Nograles last January, aiming to replace NORDECO as the energy supplier in Tagum City, Island Garden City of Samal, and the municipalities of Asuncion, Kapalong, New Corella, San Isidro, and Talaingod.
“Over the years, NORDECO has suffered from losses and conflicting factions within the cooperative which have led to inadequate infrastructure, piling debts to service providers including power suppliers, cancelled power supply contracts, excessive systems losses, and failure to energize parts of its franchise area even up to this time,” Nograles said.