Navarro confirms Comval mayors’ interest to break DANECO into two

Sept. 30-Oct. 6, 2010

By Cha Monforte

Compostela Valley League of Mayors president and Laak Mayor Rey Navarro has confirmed that mayors in the province are indeed enthusiastic to the proposal of breaking up the debt-ridden Davao del Norte Electric Cooperative into two power cooperatives, one smaller DANECO serving the Tagum areas and one with COMVALECO (Compostela Valley Electric Cooperative) serving the 11 towns of Compostela Valley.

Laak Mayor Rey Navarro

The showing of mayors’ interest to the proposal has been interpreted by quarters as signal for a formal quest of Compostela Valley to have its own electric cooperative.

Mayor Navarro, in an interview, said that the proposal of dividing DANECO with a carved-out COMVALECO was tackled in their recent league’s meeting, adding that after the feasibility study they had earlier commissioned to experts will be completed “they (mayors) will do the political spadework”.

As this developed, DANECO deputy general manager Engr. Felix Hiobionada, in a separate interview, said “why not?” adding that what it takes is only a referendum of the general membership.

He said that while DANECO was created by law with one franchise area, but after all it is only DANECO now thoughout the country which remains to have two provinces covering one service area while other electric cooperatives had long been broken down per province.

Mayor Navarro said that DANECO has long been not efficiently managed as seen on its debts that continue to pile up since the past and that have not been responded well by the “management that inherited the debts”.

He added that with the COMVALECO proposal they just wanted to have “genuine electric power cooperative truly owned by the power consumer members who would share dividends and patronage refund”.

He said that there have been continued inefficiency, high systems losses and piling up of debts that continue to plague DANECO even while these ultimately resulted to high power rates that its too many power consumers have been suffering from.

The Laak mayor also said that somehow COMVALECO can embark on tapping its own hydropower given Compostela Valley’s good water resources and in other sources of renewal energy such as windmills in the bid of countering the bleak power prospects of Mindanao in the coming years.

Monkayo Mayor Manuel “Jun-Jun” Brillantes Jr said he is favorable for the break up given the so wide area of two provinces that the present DANECO has been inefficiently servicing, and it would make the two managements more focused and have easier way of managing each of their respective service areas.

Deputy GM Hibionada said that the breaking up of DANECO into two electric cooperatives would depend on the decision of the majority of members in a referendum called for the purpose.

He said that it also needs an approval of the National Electrification Administration, the national regulatory body of all electric cops in the country.

But, he said, there are many issues that have to be resolved first before the breaking up such as the issue on the sharing of DANECO’S debts, obligations, assets, resources and others.

He added that the proposal needs to pass the tests for statistical, institutional and legal feasibility and doability.

But he said: “Mas lisud pa pag privatize kaysa pag-divide (It’s harder to privatize DANECO than dividing it).”

At present, DANECO has 126,000 power consumers and 351 employees excluding the manpower of clearing contractors.

It currently services the 11 towns of Compostela Valley and Davao del Norte including the Island Garden of Samal except Panabo City and the towns of Carmen and Sto. Tomas which are directly serviced by the Davao Light and Power Company.

DANECO though procured power supplies from Davao Light for Samal island, while getting the Agus hydropower through National Power Grid Corp. for the rest of its service areas. (Rural Urban News/Cha Monforte)

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