Referendum set on Sept. 14 to determine who will run Aleco

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Albay power consumers opposes privatization of ALECO. PHOTO BY RICO DE MESA MANALLO / BICOLTODAY.COM
Albay power consumers opposes privatization of ALECO. PHOTO BY RICO DE MESA MANALLO / BICOLTODAY.COM

By Joseph John J. Perez

LEGAZPI CITY, 13Sept2013 – Private Sector Partnership (PSP) or Cooperative to Cooperative (C2C)?

Albayanos will decide through a referendum on Saturday, September 14, on which is the best option to save the financially-beset Albay Electric Cooperative due to its staggering P4B total arrears caused by inefficient implementation of collection policy, high systems loss, and failure to obtain sustained contract for supply for electricity.

“We are anticipating at least a 25% of more than 180,000 member-consumers or around 20,000 will cast their votes,” ALECO Officer-In-Charge for Institutional and Administrative Services Department (IASD) and spokesperson designate Hezel Morallos told the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) in an exclusive interview.

The estimated voters turnout is much above the 5,000 average turnout in any ALECO-initiated elections for its board members, much more for any regular general assembly’s maximum attendance of a little over 1,000 member-consumers, Morallos added.

“Aside from our series of information, education campaign (IEC) to the municipalities, we utilized almost all available communication resources such as radio and TV announcements, letters to mayors and media and mobile PA (public address) system that went around to the barangays to disseminate information related to the referendum,” Morallos told PIA.

The IEC campaign was required by the Department of Energy (DOE) after multi-sectoral representatives who are favoring the C2C option made an audience to DOE Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla to give them the opportunity to inform the Albayanos of their position.

The IEC campaign was conducted to some 1,677 residents from September 2 to 6 covering all of the 17 municipalities in Albay including Legazpi City. “Some mayors like in the municipalities Libon, Polangui and Guinobatan personally attended the IEC together with their barangay officials,” Morallos said.

Libon registered some 223 attendees, Polangui 105 and Guinobatan with 160 IEC attendees that are among the leading places in attendance to IECs topped by Legazpi City with 330 and Manito with 200 attendees. Camalig has only 1 attendee and Tabaco City has none that caused the cancellation of the campaign. “We received reports that the member-consumers in Libon thought that the advanced IEC done by the pro-CTC group was already the DOE-required IEC, while we are clueless in alone turnout in Camalig,” Morallos said.

The pro-C2C group is composed of multi-sectoral groups headed by a lawyer Bart Rayco and supported by the coop’s rank and file employees ALECO Employees Organization (ALEO). The pro-PSP group is composed of the ALECO board and the coop’s management union, the ALECO Labor Supervisors Organization (ALELO), Morallos said. Earlier, Albay Governor Salceda expressed his support to the PSP option.

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