Bukidnon provincial board asks power utility to explain P213.88-M loan

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/09 April) – The Bukidnon provincial board has summoned officials of the Bukidnon Second Electric Cooperative (Buseco) to its session on Wednesday to shed light on a P213.88-million 10-year loan from the World Bank through the Philippine National Bank.

The amount of P213.88 million will be used for the repair and restoration of distribution lines damaged by typhoon Pablo in December 2012.

But Buseco area manager for Malaybalay Juancho Chiong clarified that the amount is just the balance of the P641-million loan for capital expenditures that was approved in 2009 and for which the provincial board has given a certification.

The provincial board was supposed to tackle last week the loan along with other measures that Buseco sought to undertake. However, there was no quorum as only five of the 14 board members were present — Nemesio Beltran Jr., Ranulfo Pepito, Jay Albarece, Datu Magdalino Pandian, and Raiza Angelique Porminal made it to the session.

Lawyer Apollo Maguale, provincial board secretary, told MindaNews only five of those absent gave word before the session that they were on “official business”.

Vice Gov. Jose Maria R. Zubiri went with Gov. Alex Calingasan and other board members on “barangay consultation visits” which were scheduled in the run-up to the May 13 elections.

Zubiri and Calingasan have swapped positions for this year’s polls even if the latter is only on his first term as governor.

Aside from the loan, scheduled for discussion last week was Buseco’s application before the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) for business separation and unbundling plan and accounting and cost allocation manual.

Buseco has asked to post its application at the provincial bulletin board, which is a requirement set by ERC. The provincial board is supposed to issue a certification bearing the seal of the vice governor’s office that the power firm has complied with such requirement.

On Wednesday the board is expected to question Buseco on the details of its application for approval of the energy supply agreement with Therma South, Inc. (TSI).

Also scheduled for deliberation is a biomass project project in Kalilangan town. Vice mayor Raymon Charl Gamboa is expected to appear before the board members to explain the project.

Maguale meanwhile said the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines has sought the board’s endorsement for its Maramag-Kibawe 138-kilovolt transmission project in southern Bukidnon. The board, however, has yet to include the request in its agenda.

He said they expect ta quorum on Wednesday as only Beltran has so far signified he would be absent to be in Manila for a meeting with the National Historical Commission and the Department of Interior and Local Government. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)