THE DURIAN POST – BUKIDNON – VOL. 1 NO 1 – JULY 290AUG 5, 2012

Honasan joins fight vs.
sale of Agus, Pulangi
BY ROGER M. BALANZA and MEL N. VELEZ

Mindanaoans opposing outsiders meddling with their power woes with a plan to sell two state-owned hydropower complexes in the island have found an ally in the Senate in Senator Gregorio Honasan.
Senator Honasan has lent his support to the campaign to block the sale of the Pulangi and Agus hydropower complexes in Bukidnon as President Aquino stalled a government plan to privatize the complexes that supply power to a large part of Mindanao.
There is need for government to come up with a policy based on accurate data, said Honasan in Davao City last month.
The Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001 (Epira) mandated sale of government-owned power utilities due to their status as highly subsidized but non-earning economic enterprises for the government thatd led billions of pesos in loses.
But Honasan said government may have the wrong figures especially in relation to Pulangi and Agus and is filing a proposal amending the Epira to exempt the Mindanao complexes from being privatized.
The proposal by Honasan, a member of the Senate committee on energy, backstops moves by the Mindanao Commission on Women (MCM) and the Bukidnon Power Commission, which openly opposed the sale.
Irene M. Santiago, MCM chair emerita and chief executive officer, said MCM has already received pledges through social networking sites and other means for its campaign to raise P1 billion to symbolically buy the plants in case the privatization pushes through.
President Benigno Aquino has aborted the planned privatization of two major hydropower complexes in Mindanao, a move fully supported by BPC.
The BPC is also pushing Bukidnon power stakeholders to have a bigger role in the proposed Mindanao Power Corporation (MinPOCOR), a government-owned and controlled corporation (GOCC) that would take over management and operation of the power situation in Mindanao from the National Power Corporation (Napocor).
The creation OF MinPOCOR and the Mindanao Power Monitoring Committee (MPMC) were proposed by Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) chairman Lualhati Antonino, during the Mindanao Power Summit held in Davao City on May 14, 2012 and attended by President Aquino.
To give strength to its bid to be a major actor in the power situation in Mindanao, the BPC held its 3rd Bukidnon Power Summit on June 5, and passed a Resolution asking President Aquino and MinDa to designate the Bukidnon Electric Consumers (BECO) Foundation, representing Bukidnon power consumers, as member of the Mindanao Power Monitoring Committee (BPMC).
Convenors of the BPC are the First Bukidnon Electric Cooperative, Inc. (FIBECO), Bukidnon Second Electric Cooperative, Inc. (BUSECO) and the  Bukidnon Electric Consumers Foundation (BECO).
BPC is supported by  among others the Bukidnon Provincial Government, municipal local government units, the Multi- Sectoral Electrification Advisory Council (MSEAC) and the business community. BPC through Fibeco and Buseco had pushed the sale of the hydropower plants to electric cooperatives while the government-run Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation (PSALM) was seeking bids for the privatization, before the Mindanao Power Summit where President Aquino aborted the move to allow Mindanaoans a bigger role in resolving the power crisis in the island.
The privatization of the state-owned Agus-Pulangui  Hydropower Plant complexes was among those proposed by government but this was strongly opposed by Mindanaoans. Pulangui IV at Kiuntod, Maramag, Bukidnon can generate 255MW but its power generating capacity has been cut off by 50% power due to siltation.
The PSALM was already in the motion of privatizing the hydropower complexes, when President Aquino stalled the sale to the private csector following the proposal of Antonino at the Mindanao Power Summit.
Third district Congressman Joey Zubiri and Vice Governor Jose Ma. Zubiri Jr. strongly supported the creation of the MinPOCOR and opposed the sale of the hydropower plants to private companies, which could lead to higher power rates and poor service to consumers.
The Association of Mindanao Rural Electric Cooperative (AMRECO) executive director Clint Pacana said MinPOCOR is the solution to Mindanao’s power woes..

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