‘Power bloc’ eyes 12 party-list seats in Congress

BUTUAN CITY (MindaNews / 27 April) – Electric cooperative consumers throughout the country who helped send four party-list lawmakers in Congress in the 2019 elections are now pushing to elect eight more nominees in next year’s polls.

The National Center of Electric Cooperative Consumers, Inc. (NCECCO) is aiming to garner at least 1.2 million votes from the total of 6.8 million voters in Western Mindanao, Northern Mindanao and Caraga Region for the Ako Padayon Pilipino Party-list as presented by Edmundo Pacamalan Jr., executive director of One Electric Cooperative Network Foundation (OECNF) who is also political consultant of the “power bloc” in Congress. MindaNews photo by CHRIS V. PANGANIBAN

A consensus was reached here on Monday by the Caraga Rural Electric Cooperatives, Association Member Consumers Owners (CRECA MCO) convergence event at the LMX Convention Center where national leaders of the National Center of Electric Cooperative Consumers, Inc. (NCECCO) formally announced their political goals leading to the 2022 national and local elections.

Pedrito Baculio, NCECCO secretary general, said it is highly probable that they can muster thousands more votes for the four party-list groups accredited by the Commission on Elections already known as the “power bloc” in Congress as they were forging alliances with large electric cooperatives in the vote-rich provinces of Cebu and Bohol.

This early Baculio said NCECCO – through its political arm, the One Electric Cooperative-Member Consumers Owners Movement (ONEEC-MCO) – has been barnstorming the provinces to gather more support for electric cooperatives and allied organizations in the energy and consumer welfare sectors.

ONEEC-MCO has campaigned hard for the “power bloc” regional party-list groups like the Association of Philippine Electric Cooperatives (APEC) that covers Visayas and some parts of Mindanao, Philippine Rural Electric Cooperatives Association (Philreca) that covers Luzon, Ako Padayon Pilipino (APDP) that covers Northern and Northeastern Mindanao, and RECOBODA that covers Southern Mindanao.

Rep. Presley de Jesus represents Philreca, Rep. Sergio Dagooc for APEC, Rep. Adriano Ebcas for APDP and Rep. Godofredo Guya for RECOBODA.

Baculio clarified that the regional party-list groups can still be voted by all Filipino voters nationwide.

Edmundo Pacamalan Jr., executive director of One Electric Cooperative Network Foundation (OECNF) who is also political consultant of the power bloc, said their political movement will support elected traditional politicians in the country in the coming election even as they espoused new politics.

He explained these politicians have helped and supported their movement that having ties with them is just a transition period towards their ultimate goal to the “new order” where electricity consumers can be empowered and live better lives.

Pacamalan expressed confidence that their movement, which already held consultations with stakeholders and allied groups nationwide, can draw much support to achieve the target of at least three lawmakers for each power bloc party-list in the next Congress.

In his presentation, Pacamalan cited the 2022 regional target in Regions 9, 10 and Caraga with a regional multiplier goal of 1,272,190 votes from the combined total votes in these regions they called “new Mindanao” of 6.8 million.

For his part, Baculio said APEC party-list in the Visayas was just short of 29,000 votes to get two representations in Congress in the 2019 elections and with an assured additional votes in Cebu and Bohol it would be more likely to get three lawmakers.

Edgardo Masongsong, administrator of National Electrification Administration, said that one main agenda of the power bloc is to push for the realization of the Mindanao Power Corporation, which will be run by electric cooperatives and not by multinational companies. He said it aims to tap the underutilized hydroelectric projects in the Pulangi River in Bukidnon and Agus River in the two Lanao provinces, a legislative initiative he had started when he was party-list representative for one term.

He said the MPC project will surely reduce the electric bills of Mindanao residents to just 50 centavos per kilowatt-hour. (Chris V. Panganiban / MindaNews)