By Elmer James Bandol
LEGAZPI CITY, 9Aug2013 (BicolToday.com) – In tight security reinforced by bomb sniffing dog, a handful of activists, against privatization of the Albay Electric Cooperative (ALECO), was barred from entering the premises of a three-star hotel here where the opening of bids is being held by the National Electrification Administration (NEA) pushing through, Wednesday the privatization of the sole electric cooperative in the province.
Despite strong opposition from consumers, this is the second time NEA’s hunger for privatization of the debt-ridden ALECO was pushed again. The first attempt in 1997 during the incumbency of Fr. Francisco Silva where NEA backed-up sureptiously the management contract proposal of Salcon, a Singaporean company, that met the same resistance.
Behind yells and shouts by the placard-bearing rallyists outside the fence of Hotel de Vencia, NEA’s Bids and Awards Committee (BAC), chaired by Engr. Marry Rose Naparam, has proceeded to open bidders’ envelopes where San Miguel Energy Power Corporation (SMEPower) emerged as the sole bidder for ALECO. Two others, Meralco and Aboitiz envelopes were read as withdrawing from bidding.
Signed by First Vice-President and Treasurer, Rafael L. Andrada, the letter of withdrawal by Meralco, said will not participate but questioned the legal position of the NEA’s move to bid ALECO which is supposedly owned by the consumers. While for Aboitiz, signed by Jose Jayme Aboitiz, it questioned also NEA’s legality and commented on the open-ended risks in the debt-payment plan that would not ensure their investments.
According to Naparam, following the determination of price bid they will evaluate the papers of the sole bidder, SME Power, if it has complied all the requirements and evaluate the details of the terms of reference until Aug. 21, 2013, timeline for a possible giving notice of award.
Represetatives of Meralco and Aboitiz have registered their observations during the opening of bids that the terms of reference have been “drastically changed” which according to Naparam it is about debt payment proposals from ALECO creditors asking for three, five and 13 years payment plan of which she said “it was noted”.
Naparam said, observers from the local government units, Camp Gen. Simeon Ola, selected media representatives were invited to the opening of bids and knowing bidders as witnesses. The said activity ended without untoward incident, she added.