More power consumers in Davao del Norte and Davao de Oro provinces have opposed the impending takeover of Aboitiz-owned Davao Light and Power Company (DLPC) of the franchise area of Northern Davao Electric Cooperative Inc. (Nordeco).
According to Ariel Perote, secretary of the Coalition Against Privatization of Electric Cooperatives (CAPECs), some 94,000 member-consumer-owners of Nordeco have signed the petition opposing House Bill 10544 which seeks to grant DLPC franchise to distribute electricity in the areas currently being served by Nordeco which has 201,000 member-consumer-owners as of the end of 2021.
DLPC mainly distributes electricity in Davao City.
Proponents of the DLPC takeover, among them Davao del Norte Gov. Edwin Jubahib, reasoned that with the Aboitiz firm, the cost of electricity will go down by P2 to P3 per kilowatt-hour compared to Nordeco’s current rate of P11 to P17 per kilowatt-hour.
Nordeco admitted that its electricity rates could be slightly higher compared to DLPC but its net earnings will mostly go to continued services for member-consumers, instead of being pocketed off as profit by a few DLPC owners.
Nordeco cited that 27 percent of the monthly bill will directly go to the pockets of the DLPC owner should it bag the electricity distribution franchise.
“If the privatization would be realized, there will be no more voice and representation from the member-consumers-owners of Nordeco, and Davao Light can increase their bills anytime they want without consulting us,” Perote said.
Perote believed that local officials, especially in Davao del Norte, may have been “pressured” to support the DLPC takeover proposal considering that former House Speaker and Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez coauthored the measure with Ako Bicol partylist Rep. Alfredo Garbin.
Jubahib was instrumental in dispersing the “Black Friday” protest rally last week here attended by some 3,000 people from different towns of Davao del Norte and Davao de Oro.
Although given permission by Mayor Allan Rellon until 2 p.m., Jubahib, surrounded by anti-riot policemen clad with shields, confronted the protesters right after the last speaker finished talking, and ordered them to immediately disperse by noon time, citing health rules.
But several dismayed protesters told the Inquirer that the health rules were just being “weaponized” to suppress the opposition against DLPC.
They noted that during the Dec. 15 visit of presidential apirant Sen. Manny Pacquiao at the New Tagum City Hall, a huge crowd of people were pushing their way towards the stage where the senator was speaking, eagerly waiting for the P1,000 giveaway for each of them.