Davao Norte Gov. Jubahib welcomes Senate probe on power crisis

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 24 May) – Davao del Norte Governor Edwin Jubahib welcomed on Wednesday the Senate inquiry into the power crisis affecting the Island Garden City of Samal (IGACOS) and some parts of the province being served by the Northern Davao Electric Cooperative (NORDECO).

In a statement, Jubahib said it is high time that the matter be brought to the Senate to investigate the alleged gross negligence and incompetence of the electric cooperative in providing stable power supply in the province.

Senator Raffy Tulfo, chair of the Senate Committee on Energy, earlier sought an inquiry over NORDECO’s alleged failure to address power outages in Samal Island. The public hearing was slated Wednesday, May 24.

Jubahib noted that NORDECO is confronted with various issues, particularly its outdated submarine cables affecting the power of supply of IGACOS, which has been placed last May 16 under a state of calamity due to the power crisis.

Jubahib criticized the electric cooperative for its “continued silence and blatant refusal to acknowledge their own inutility to resolve the persistent power woes” faced by the people of IGACOS and others in the province.

“It is a blatant disregard for the well-being of the community they are supposed to serve. Their refusal to acknowledge their own ineptitude is not only an insult to the people of IGACOS but also a testament to their incompetence,” he said.

He added that its “silence speaks volumes about their lack of accountability and commitment to finding a solution.”

The governor said the people “have suffered enough, and it’s about time they receive the reliable and uninterrupted power supply they deserve.”

In a statement, the local government of IGACOS said the declaration of a state of calamity over the entire island was meant to mitigate the adverse “impacts of the power crisis and ensure the welfare of our residents” as well as enable “our government and relevant agencies to employ necessary measures swiftly.”

The local government also called on Congress to revoke the franchise of NORDECO in Samal Island, which will pave the way for a new power utility to provide electric services to the people of the island.

Jubahib earlier said he is supporting the proposed measures in Congress that seek to expand the franchise of the Aboitiz-owned Davao Light and Power Company (DLPC) to IGACOS. These measures are House Bill (HB) 5077 filed by Davao del Norte 1st District Rep. Pantaleon D. Alvarez, HB 6740 of Rep. Margarita Ignacia B. Nograles of PBA Partylist, and HB 7047 of Rep. Sandro L. Gonzales of MARINO Partylist.

These bills were filed after President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. vetoed HB 10554, which sought to amend Republic Act 11515, extending for another 25 years the franchise granted to DLPC.

HB 10554 would have placed Tagum City, IGACOS and the municipalities of Asuncion, Kapalong, New Corella, San Isidro and Talaingod under the franchise area of DLPC.

These areas are being serviced by NORDECO, which has an existing franchise for the mainland until 2028 and IGACOS until 2033. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)