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news archives- 2007-2009
news archives - 2005-2006

news archives- 2007-2009

Court stops P90 M bond flotation of Compostela Valley LGU

nov 13/09

The Regional Trial Court Branch 3 has issued an injunction stopping the implementation of the P90-million bond flotation of the local government of Nabunturan, Compostela Valley.

RTC Branch 3 Executive Judge Hilarion Clapis Jr in his decision, released Wednesday, in the Special Civil Case No. 898 praying for injunction with application for writ of preliminary injunction stated that his sala finds that the three complainants, who are town residents, “have sufficiently established the existence of grave damage and irreparable injury to justify, albeit provisionally the restraint of the act or acts complained of in this the bond flotation scheme.”

Temporarily enjoined not to make any act relating to bond flotation pending the decision of the case on the merits are Mayor Macario Humol, Vice Mayor Romeo Clarin and town councilors Darwin Tan, Eduardo Minosa, Vivencia Secuya, Cheryl Trinidad, Iluminida Cabuga, Felipe Masambo and Sangguniang Kabataan representative Jennifer Gamao.

The officials have been wanting to raise P90 million by selling government bonds to the public to fund for the construction of a “mall-like” public market building to replace the old market building razed by a fire four years ago.

Complainants were Charlie Monforte, a journalist, Emilio delos Reyes, a president of a parent-teachers association and opposing Councilor Alfonso Tabas Jr.

They charged in their complaint that the bond flotation enacted by Municipal Ordinance No. 2008-10 “is clearly oppressive and grossly disadvantageous which if not repealed will result to great wastage of taxpayers’ money, dissipate the coffers of the Local Government Unit and importantly displace hundreds of market vendors from the said facility resulting to loss of income. loss of jobs and grievous economic injuries to ordinary citizens of Nabunturan”.

The respondents filed a motion to dismiss last February citing lack of jurisdiction and lack of cause of action, but complainants filed opposition to it following hearings where regional officials and experts from Dept of Finance and Dept. of Budget and Management and Local Finance Committee officials were summoned to testify as resource persons.

Monforte and Delos Reyes were also complainants of a separate graft complaint filed at the Office of the Ombudsman for Mindanao last August.

In that complaint, the two charged that the same respondents have allegedly failed to conduct public bidding in the hiring of the bond flotation’s financial adviser-consultant Preferred Ventures Corporation, a Makati-based firm.

They claimed that even without the “legislative enactment, ordinance or resolution to hire a financial consultant and advisor for the municipality’s infrastructure project, Mayor Humol proceeded to enter into Memorandum of Agreement with Preferred Ventures” and “(it) became an automatic financial consultant/advisor without passing through the bidding procedure as required by law”.

For opposing the bond flotation, Councilors Raul Caballero, Editha Arangcon and Tabas were spared from the complaint. (Al Rosero/Rural Urban News)

Daneco power rates up by P1 per kwh seen in ERC-proposed rules on "wheeling rates";
ERC proposal slammed by member-consumers

(May 31, 2009)- The new rules in setting "wheeling" power rates of electric cooperative as proposed by the Energy Regulatory Commission could result into overall average increases in power rates of Davao del Norte Electric Cooperative (Daneco) amounting to almost P1 every year per kilowatt hour for the next three years.

ERC Commissioner Jose Reyes on Saturday's public consultation at the Daneco main office in Montevista, Compostela Valley said that the "wheeling rates" are proposed as a new regulatory framework in the setting of power rates for electric cooperatives to adjust it with the "real prices" adding that the prices of power have already been deflated through the past years.

"This is also to make electric cooperatives give better service to their member-consumers," he said.

But Daneco member and retired Daneco employee Priscilla Bartonico during the open forum slammed the ERc proposal saying that the increase of power rates generated by the proposed rules would hit hard Daneco's residential consumers calling it "a great burden".

She appealed to Daneco's Board of Directors (BOD) not to approve the ERC-proposed rules otherwise review and make new methodology to make rates' increases affordable "based on conservative budget".

In Daneco simulated computation on the impact of the proposed rules various power user-categories, projected to increase per year per kilowatt hour were residential by 15.50 centavos or 43-percent increase, commercial by 4.95 centavos or 23-percent increase, public building by 4.61 centavos or 21-percent increase, industrial by 12.56 centavos or 90-percent increase, while projected to decrease were street lighting by 69.21 centavos or 72-percent decrease and industrial large load by 42-percent drop.

Offset against among each other, the simulation generated a net and overall average of 86.3 centavos or 31-percent increase.  

Even some members of Daneco BOD were not happy of the ERC proposal.

Daneco Director Dean Briz also questioned the proposed rules citing the detrimental implications of increased power rates to the member-consumers.

He said that they only got hold a copy of the endorsement of the rules as sent Daneco OIC General Manager Allan Laniba.

But Reyes said that the the ERC also based its proposal from the figures given by the Daneco management as basis in the formulation of the draft of the rules on "wheeling rates".

He said though that the rules would still be subject to the approval of Daneco's annual general assembly this coming August 30.

He added that it is "not the rates but the rules" being sought for approval by electric cooperatives nationwide.

With the wheeling rates, which would adjust power rates either increase or decrease based on the formula in the methodology, electric cooperatives could save from the costly process of public hearings and follows ups in Manila, the ERC commissioner said. 

In the ERC timetable, the rules' effectivity would be September 26, 2009 or 15 days after its publication.

BOD chair Dr. Antonio Sembumpan also squelched start-up howl of protestation of attending members saying the board would thoroughly review the proposed rules before it would be submitted to the general assembly.

Meanwhile, Laniba in an interview said that the draft rules would cause a 200-percent decrease or a significant P2 drop per kilowatt hour in the power rates for street lighting.

He added that the it would also give opportunity for Daneco to recover the real property taxes levied by local government units to Daneco's power lines and facilities.       

Moreover,  Reyes bared that there was still ERC's provisional approval in the the last increase of power rates charged by power generator where he said Mindanao got lowest increase of power rates compared to Visayas which had about 83 centavos increase per kilowatt hour.  (Cha Monforte/Rural Urban News