Lanao Norte power consumers to PNoy: Don’t sell Agus, Pulangi

TUBOD, Lanao del Norte (MindaNews/30 May) — Some 65,000 power consumers in Lanao del Norte have expressed strong opposition to the impending privatization of the Agus and Pulangui hydropower plants that supply most of Mindanao’s power needs.

In a resolution passed during their 35th Annual General Membership Assembly and 39th founding anniversary held at the Mindanao Civic Center here on Sunday, members of the Lanao del Norte Electric Cooperative urged President Aquino not to privatize or defer the sale of the two hydropower complexes.

Based on Section 47 of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001 (Epira), the two power plants may be sold to private investors 10 years after the passage of the law, or by next month.

LANECO general manager Resnol C. Torres said the 33 electric cooperatives in Mindanao under the Association of Mindanao Rural Electric Cooperative (AMRECO) and other groups have been working together for the deferment of the privatization.

Mindanao has the cheapest power rates compared to Luzon and Visayas and is very attractive to local and foreign investors, Torres said.

In a forum in Cagayan de Oro City last May 13, Senator Francis Escudero and Rep. Henidina Abad, chair of the House energy committee said they support the deferment of the sale of the two facilities for another 10 years as it will severely affect the ordinary power consumers.

Iligan City Rep. Vicente Belmonte, vice chair of the House energy committee said the House has already approved House Bill 0007 which urges the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management (PSALM) to defer the sale and privatization of the two complexes which have a combined generating capacity of 980 megawatts.

Meanwhile, Agakhan Sharief, a member of the Local Monitoring Team representing the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in Marawi City and Lanao del Sur said, “I will refer this critical issue to the MILF Central Committee for discussion considering that Lake Lanao which provides the power source in Mindanao  is within our ancestral domain.”

He, however, said that personally he opposes the privatization move. (MindaNews)