21 May 2018
SAN FRANCISCO, Agusan del Sur - An official from the Philippine Councilors League (PCL) has recently called for the protection and establishment of more cooperatives to turn the tide on the state of public utilities in the country.
PCL chairman and Davao City Councilor Danilo Dayanghirang said people should rally behind service-oriented utilities like the Agusan del Sur Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Aselco) instead of the well-heeled corporations dominating the industry.
“You must not let our electricity services be turned over to the rich (companies),” Dayanghirang told the stakeholders of Aselco during their 36th Annual General Membership Assembly (AGMA) in Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur on Saturday (May 19).
"Public utilities like water and power systems are better left with cooperatives, not profit-driven companies," he said, echoing the same principles espoused by the National Electrification Administration (NEA).
Speaking on behalf of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, who was unable to deliver her keynote speech due to prior engagements, Dayanghirang recognized the valuable contributions of electric cooperatives (ECs) to the growth of Mindanao.
“I would like to commend the people behind Aselco for giving their time and talents in the service of their consumers and the development of Agusan del Sur,” the councilor said quoting the prepared statement of Duterte-Carpio.
Led by its general manager Engr. Emmanuel Galarse and board president Corazon Cullantes, Aselco operates in 13 municipalities, one city and 314 barangays of Agusan del Sur or 46 percent of the Caraga region.
“We aspire (for) you to continue in partnership with (NEA Administrator Edgardo) Masongsong to deliver positive changes in our communities. As your fellow Mindanaoan, I am glad as to how far you have come,” Dayanghirang added.
Masongsong, who also graced the event for an inspirational talk, welcomed these encouraging words. In his remarks, the NEA chief stressed the importance of keeping the ECs alive as their business operations are generally rooted in public service.
“Councilor Dayanghirang was right when he called for the protection of our electric cooperatives. Because if we allow the big companies to operate and control our (power) distribution system, electricity prices will certainly increase,” the administrator said in his remarks.
Masongsong noted that when the Mindanao power crisis struck in recent years, Aselco managed to keep its electricity rates below P10 per kilowatt hour. Despite this, it was able to sustain its good financial standing.
With an average systems loss at 7.78 percent and a 98.68 percent collection efficiency, Aselco is considered as one of the top-performing ECs in the country, making it worthy of the AAA rating it consistently receives from the NEA.
As of December 2017, the lone power service provider in Agusan del Sur has connected a total of 149,579 households. It has 123,512 member-consumer-owners to date; 38,828 of whom participated in the recently concluded AGMA. NEA