DAVAO CITY (Mindanao Examiner / Nov. 20, 2012) – Power consumers in Davao del Norte in southern Philippines are demanding Aquino government to place the provincial electric cooperative under the Cooperative Development Authority.
The Davao del Norte Electric Cooperative (DANECO) is being run by appointed officials of the National Electrification Administration. Consumers and other groups said NEA officials failed to efficiently manage the cooperative.
The multi-sectoral group called Bagong Alyansang Makabayan in southern Mindanao also echoed the complaints of the cooperative members. It wanted CDA to manage the electric cooperative and push for genuine reforms.
It said majority of the cooperative members wanted CDA to run the DANECO.
Sheena Duazo, BAYAN-SMR spokesperson, said majority of DANECO members endorsed DANECO to CDA during a referendum in May.
“The overwhelming votes of the members in favor of CDA were protest votes against NEA which has been supervising DANECO and other rural electric cooperatives throughout the country for the last 40 years but it has not been efficient and effective in delivering its mandate to make electric cooperatives serve the people especially the poor rural folks,” Duazo said.
She said since the 1990s electric consumers in Davao del Norte and Compostela Valley province have been campaigning for the conversion of DANECO into a cooperative under CDA, but this had been blocked by the government through the NEA.
“In fact, the CDA itself under the dictates of the Aquino government issued a cease-and-desist order last September 28 this year to keep DANECO under NEA control. The push for DANECO under CDA is the people’s legitimate aspiration to make it into a real cooperative. Under the current scheme of things, the supposedly members of DANECO are not considered as co-owners of the power coop that would have been receiving dividends of share capital and patronage refund during year-end and could have been enjoying low electricity rates due to exemption from Value Added Tax payments pursuant to the Cooperative Development Code of 2008,” she said.
According to an investigation conducted by Duazo’s group, the accumulated shares of the DANECO members amounted to over P87 million. She said there is a need to audit the funds to know where the money is being spent.
“Other than making the power coop as source of corruption and onerous VAT revenues of the Aquino government, keeping DANECO under NEA control and denying the people of their right to have its own cooperative is a sinister scheme to push for its privatization under the Public-Private Partnership that must be opposed by the people,” Duazo said.
In Zamboanga City, there is also a strong clamour for the NEA to recall its appointed officials managing the Zamboanga City Electric Cooperative because of their alleged failures in running the cooperative.