BUTUAN CITY (MindaNews/28 June) — Electric consumers have opted to register the Agusan del Norte Electric Cooperative with the Cooperative Development Authority in a referendum held in 15 various districts here Sunday.
Aneco became the first electric cooperative that opted to be listed under the CDA, a move that would entitle it to congressional allocations, grants, subsidies and other assistance for rural electrification.
Moreover, its consumers are now entitled to dividends and other benefits.
CDA administrator for Mindanao Datu Pendatun B. Disimban said that ANECO has now become a genuine electric cooperative after garnering over 31,000 positive votes from 15 districts in Butuan City. Some 400 consumers voted against placing ANECO under the CDA.
The number was bigger than the required 20 percent of votes from Aneco’s roughly 110,000 consumers.
“This is history because this is the first referendum that the pro-CDA vote won. This is a genuine people’s electric cooperative,” Disimban said in mixed English and Tagalog.
Roberto Rosales, head convenor of the Alliance for Consumers Ownership of Aneco said he was overwhelmed after the announcement of the official result [of the referendum].
“This is the people’s victory wherein they have achieved a genuine electric cooperative,” he told reporters.
“We are the de facto funder, investor and owner, which means we’re the ones paying the loans, sub-transmission lines, land and building, and we’re also the ones financing the capital expenditures,” he said.
“They are depriving the member-consumers the benefits conceptualized by the CDA for the people. Imagine, you’re the one paying the taxes for it,” he added said.
Meanwhile, CDA Executive Director Orlando R. Ravanera said that one way to stop increasing power rates is to “cooperativize” basic utilities because various taxes will be wiped out from the bill.
Ravanera said the Philippines is the only country in Asia with the highest rates of electricity.
He noted that the country has 122 electric cooperatives and only 12 are registered with their office.
“This is the call of the time. My bold prediction is this, in the next two to three years, all of these 110 electric cooperatives will become cooperativized,” he said. (Roel N. Catoto/MindaNews)