Trailblazing Blase and the P1.4 B Daneco loan

sept 2-8, 2010


By Cha Monforte

At least there are electoral upsets in Davao del Norte in the last automated polls. But they are more exemption than the rule. Independent Panabo councilor Em-Em Blase confided that he got no Tadeco backing at all, but he is profusely thanking the city’s barangay captains and officials and the Iglesia ni Cristo for their support to his candidacy in the last polls. But he could not have bagged the support for the barangay leaders and INC had he not been engaged for so long a time in NGO works. Now  we have one in the province coming from the ranks of the NGO.

I dare to attribute that the reason why now Panabo City Councilor Blase won in the last polls is foremost due to his long NGO involvement and the vast NGO services he extended, identifiable to his leadership. He’s the president of the Project Mariphil Foundation, Inc that in the councilor’s reckoning has already infused a max of P40 million for thousands of poor, needy and disadvantaged in Panabo City within the span of nine years that the foundation has been operating.

Councilor Blase got 25,376 votes and this is no small feat for him thinking that he hails a remote, poor Barangay Tibungol, some 25 kms away from the heart of the city. He landed 6th placer in the councilors’ race populated by 27 candidates.

With his victory, and under the good light of an automated elections, there’s this real implication on the good chance of good, independent politicians to win in an entrenched economic-politico dominance of Tadeco in the politics of the province’s second district. Boardmember Alan Dujali, who also won as independent boardmember (although he was adopted as guest Liberal Party candidate) described his winning in gist and sometime ago, “it’s a collateral damage” done to Tadeco’s political dominance.

But Blase electoral trailblazing obviously came not without his and his foundation’s  hard work and sincerity. The electorate could not just be woed, it would seem, by a few years, say three years of giving services and doleouts like the one I knew of in a Comval town. He was defeated in the last polls even if he was already seen as the people’s santa claus. Voters delivered for him but the votes he obtained were just not enough to beat a mayoral candidate, who had already graduated from his three terms as councilor and three terms as vice mayor. But the losing candidate made good votes, defeated by only a margin of  2,024 votes. In the case of Councilor Blase, he got 9 years- running and giving services to the needy until came the last automated election he easily beat easily old-time and seasoned city politicians and even jumped over two reelectionist incumbents in the Top 10 winners.

Rare it is for a barangay captain who runs independent to win a municipalwide election. His case associated with the influence of an NGO is yet serving as a reason de etre for the civil society to work for more collaboration and partnership with the barangay stakeholders, villages, people’s organizations and communities toward claiming political representation in governance via a popular elections.


Beauteous, young Panabo City Councilor Raquel Geraldo also won in the last polls as independent candidate. She’s 7th placer, coming next to Councilor Blase.

What’s this Capex loan that the Daneco has been talking about?

We learned that part of the P1.435 billion loan that Daneco is applying for approval to the Energy Regulatory Commission to improve and rehabilitate its decaying network and non-network facilities and system is the P49.66-million worth new building for the Daneco Tagum area office. Obviously, the planned new building isn’t yet what is badly needed by the power consumers. Stupid, it’s economics what’s needed by them. I mean, the reduction of Daneco’s power rates. Again and again, Daneco management and board of directors have to give explanations for their high power charging considering the power suppliers and the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (But somebody in the present BOD doesn’t want anymore to be interviewed by this quarter lately, I donno).

Anyway, I’ve learned from Daneco deputy GM Engr. Felix Hibionada that the P1.435 loan for capital expenditures (Capex) being applied by Daneco will impact a net of 19 centavos per kilowatt hour in the billing of its over 120,000 power consumers since about 29 centavos for Capex have been charged already to the bills since late last year.

He said that the 29 centavos for the Capex was already approved by the ERC and it recently gave signal to Daneco to make formal submission of documents supporting its P1.435-billion loan application.

Capex loan is meant to upgrade and rehabilitate the dilapidating power infrastructures and construct new power facilities such as the costly substations. Without the loan, it would mean Daneco would be absorbing much losses owing to systems losses and power distribution inefficiencies including frequent brownouts. So Daneco, under the management of OIC GM Engr. Nelson Balangan, applied the loan for its operationala projects for the years 2010 to 2012 as part of its Distribution Development Plan.

Understandably,  dilapidation of Daneco’s power system and infrastructure throughout its service area has been a big challenge for current Daneco management and board of directors to address after the power cooperative has operated for over 40 years.

Hibionada said that earlier ERC had recomputed that Daneco’s power rate increase intended for the Capex was just not enough to cover its expenditure so Daneco has to avail of new Capex loan and recover through upward power cost adjustments.

He also told me that the Capex underestimation on the part of Daneco stemmed from the unbundling of power bills in 2004 to effect the true worth of power where the costs were based on year 2000 expenditures.

To recall, electric cooperatives in the country though had started asking the ERC for power rates increases for their respective Capex in 2009.

He said that the first centavos for Daneco’s Capex served to be one of the causes in Daneco’s power rates in the recent months besides the high ancillary services charges billed by NGCP in behalf of the ancillary power suppliers.

“The ancillary services charges are more of a stop-gap measures,” he said referring to the temporary, back-up and reserved power augmentation of privately owned ancillary services power suppliers like the Aboitiz-owned Therma Marine Inc. , which owns the power Barge 118 based in Maco.

The power barge supplies power to Daneco whenever the main load supplied by the the hydropower Agus complex in Lanao is short of power supply like when Mindanao was hit by El Nino last summer resulting to the low water volume of of Lake Lanao.

Hibionada said that Daneco is expecting ERC’s decision on Daneco’s Capex loan application “by December or early next year”.

Thanks to Engr. Hibio for his lots of  good info. At least Daneco power consumers who are complaining nowadays for their high power bills know what’s going on to their power cooperative. Just like power, there’s a need for the info source to open and we’ll relay the info.

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