August 29, 2017 at 12:01 am
Robert A. Evora
CALAPAN CITY—With over more than 185,000 member-consumers affected, the provincial mayors’ league here and the board of directors of Oriental Mindoro Electric Cooperative Inc. or Ormeco are clashing over the management of the power firm.
This came about as the ousted Ormeco general manager continued to defy an order from the National Electrification Administration replacing him with an acting GM.
Outgoing GM Patrocinio Panagsagan, Jr., with his supporters, are still holed inside the premises of the barricaded front office of the electric cooperative.
NEA Administrator Edgardo R. Masongsong had replaced Panagsagan with Orlando M. Andres as acting GM effective August 16. Andres is from NEA’s central office in Manila.
Out of 121 electric cooperatives all over the country under NEA supervision, four, including Ormeco, are being “given special attention” in the current investigation of ECs that “have complaints concerning reliability, especially regarding the duration and frequency of power interruptions,” the agency said.
The NEA will take over the management of “ailing electric cooperatives and suspend erring general managers who are found to be remiss of their mandates,” according to NEA’s directive by Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi.
“There is no exemption. If they [cooperatives] fail, we will determine the reasons behind this and take appropriate actions,” NEA Deputy Administrator Artis Tortola said.
The seven-man Ormeco board of directors, presided by Teodoro de la Cruz Jr., passed a resolution acknowledging and accepting the appointment of Andres as the duly appointed supervisor and acting general manager of the cooperative effective Aug. 18, 2017.
Andres was also designated, in the same resolution, as the “new authorized signatory to all bank accounts of Ormeco.”
However, the League of Municipalities of the Philippines—headed by Socorro, Oriental Mindoro Mayor Maria Fe Brondial—will submit a petition on Tuesday to President Rodrigo Duterte expressing the Oriental Mindoro mayors’ full support for the retention of Panagsagan as Ormeco general manager.
Out of 14 LMP mayors in the Oriental Mindoro chapter, only two “mavericks” -- Bongabong Mayor Elgin Malaluan and Puerto Galera Mayor Rockey Ilagan -- did not sign the group’s petition.
Malaluan explained that the Ormeco problem “must not be tainted with politics at the expense of member-consumers,” while Ilagan stressed that the problem there was “not well-explained to us mayors, why we’ll sign the petition.”
Ilagan also expressed fears over the outcome of Ormeco’s internal problems, as Puerto Galera faces its own power problems because of the long-delayed full rehabilitation of the 41-kilometer transmission lines going from Calapan City to the popular resort town.
The National Power Corporation will shut down power delivery to Puerto Galera to give way for a 69-kv transmission line rehabilitation. Before it starts, Ormeco -- through the Mindoro Grid Corp., a private contractor – must first install six modular generators with a production capacity of six megawatts.
These generators will temporarily provide power to Puerto Galera after the shutdown. None of the generators, however, has been installed in the municipality.
Panagsagan, meanwhile, has ignored the NEA office order as mere “advisory” and it was “issued under malicious circumstances which, might expose even NEA and members of its board of directors to certain administrative and criminal liabilities.”
He said that in a referendum held in 2014, Ormeco member-consumers have opted to remain as a “non-stock, non-profit electric cooperative” under NEA supervision.