By Cha Monforte, Rural Urban News
Davao del Norte Representative Anthony del Rosario (District 1) confided that he does not really know what is going on in the presently division-wracked Davao del Norte Electric Cooperative (Daneco) that serves electricity to his legislative district.
Speaking as guest of Kapihan sa Kapitolyo Thursday, Nov. 8, at the provincial Capitol in Tagum City, Congressman Del Rosario said that he really does not know that the problem in Daneco remains unsolved.
He said he thought that the problem was solved already when he was recently informed that the rural electrification fund worth P30 million he requested from the Dept. of Energy would already be released.
The congressman bared that about one month and half ago he met former DOE Secretary Jose Rene Almendras to follow up his fund request, but the latter told him that the fund could not be released due to the problem in Daneco.
Almendras was replaced last Nov. 4 by resigned Leyte Gov. Carlos Jericho Petilla, who until press time has yet to intervene in Daneco’s state of affairs. Almendras was reassigned as secretary to the Cabinet.
Cong. Del Rosario said that knowing such DOE’s fund release advice he was assuming that the problem in Daneco was already through, but he added that it was only Thursday upon reading local newspapers that he knew that the problem still persists.
The congressman though said that while he knew that the National Electrification Administration (NEA) “is authorized” to make collections of power bill payments, “I really don’t know with regards (to the) side of the CDA (Cooperative Development Authority)”.
“I guess the basic question really here is whether or not the CDA is authorized?… If it’s authorized, then there’s nothing wrong with it. If not, there’s a problem. I can’t give an answer. I’m not with CDA,” the congressman said.
“It is the CDA head office which could answer on this,”he said, adding that the Daneco problem has to be ironed out and that there is a need to talk to different agencies to solve it.
For over six months now, Daneco has been reeling from a divisive tug-of-war between two contending groups of officials labeled as “Daneco-NEA” and “Daneco-CDA” resulting to the formation of two managements and two sets of board of directors competing to collect power bill obligations from same member-consumers.
Daneco-NEA group controls yet the Daneco’s main office in Montevista, Compostela Valley, while the Daneco-CDA group is holding at bay Daneco’s Tagum office at Tipaz, Tagum City, Davao del Norte.
Last April, NEA ordered the dismissal of 10 Daneco officials after finding them guilty in an administrative charge filed by a group of member-consumers while the officials were about to launch series of referendum to convert Daneco into stock cooperative under CDA.
The NEA-sacked officials, already collectively labeled as Daneco-CDA group, engaged with NEA in court battles, and openly defied court orders as they nixed NEA’s power to supervise Daneco claiming that they were already under CDA when they had it registered already with CDA last May 21,2012. The CDA however suspended Daneco’s CDA registration last September 28, but the group continued and made a special general assembly last Oct. 21, still rooting as stock cooperative.
As this developed, the row between two groups has turned bloody and violent when men belonging to Daneco-CDA group reportedly stormed the Daneco office manned by Daneco-NEA group in the Island Garden City of Samal dawn last Monday.
IGACOS police said that seven persons were arrested after they tried to takeover the Daneco office and wounded its guard when suspects fired guns after they suddenly arrived at the office vicinity in several vehicles including motorcycles.
Suspects led by Gil Florenosos, former chief of the Daneco-Samal office, denied the charges, saying they were repairing a transformer when they were arrested and slapped with frustrated murder charges. The seven workers have posted bail.
Last Oct. 22 the Daneco-NEA group also sent a letter to the Tagum City government advising the latter to no longer pay its monthly power obligations to Daneco-CDA office at Tipaz and any of its collection centers to avoid disconnection of electric service.
The letter was signed by Benedicto Ongking, OIC-general manager, Atty. Jeorge Rapista, legal counsel of the Daneco-NEA group, and NEA project supervisor Evangelito Estaca.
Reports said that the city government has been paying at least P1.7 million monthly for its power obligations to Daneco Tagum office and not to Apokon and Mirafuentes substations where the Daneco-NEA group temporarily hold office.
But Mayor Rey T. Uy told reporters that the city government would continue paying at the Tipaz office, which he said is the registered business office of Daneco. He questioned Daneco-NEA’s threat of disconnection saying that “what is important is there’s payment, either NEA or CDA, as long as there’s receipt.”
The Daneco-NEA group also informed the public to pay not to Daneco-CDA office or face disconnection.
But Daneco-CDA legal counsel Glenn Blair Carnicer downplayed the threat saying that the Daneco-NEA group has no authority to disconnect. He vowed to give legal assistance to sue those who would disconnect the power service of those who paid to Daneco-CDA.
The Daneco-NEA group claimed that it is they who have been paying Daneco’s power obligations to PSALM, NGCP and the Aboitiz-owned Therma Marine and not the Daneco-CDA. – Rural Urban News/Cha Monforte