Support Statement of AGHAM for DANECO-CDA
AGHAM – Advocates of Science and Technology for the People supports the call of the Davao del Norte Electric Cooperative or DANECO for recognition of their authority as the sole electricity provider to the provinces of Davao del Norte and Compostela Valley. We reiterate our call to scrap the Electric Power Industry Reform Act or EPIRA. EPIRA failed to empower electric cooperatives and is being used to re-monopolize power and increase power rates.
The DANECO dispute is a mere ploy to cover up the corporate takeover of the co-op by big power corporations. A significant player is Aboitiz Power Corporation which, under subsidiaries Therma Marine Inc. and Therma South Inc, supplies 30 megawatts of DANECO-NEA’s power capacity. According to an article on Davao Today, there have been talks of Aboitiz’ buy-out of DANECO-NEA’s debts as early as 2014.
The current row between the two co-ops shows how small-time players in the energy industry are easily dominated by big monopoly players through intimidation, harassment, and other tactics used by the latter. Instead of breaking up monopolies and empowering co-ops, the EPIRA law made it easier for re-concentration of control of the energy sector to a few companies and families.
The ongoing legal battle for recognition by the DANECO-CDA and the DANECO-NEA have also resulted to higher power rates as consumers are subjected to double billing from both co-ops. They have also been denied their right to reduced power rates brought by tax exemptions stipulated in Articles 60 and 61 of RA 9520 or the Philippine Cooperative Code.
After six years of seeking a legal resolution, 100 MCOs of the DANECO trooped to the country’s capital, where they are currently holding a week-long camp-out to appeal to President Duterte to take immediate action on the case. They are calling on the National Electrification Administration (NEA) to recognize the authority of DANECO as the sole electricity provider to the provinces of Davao del Norte and Compostela Valley.
We reiterate our support to DANECO-CDA’s bid for legitimacy. We call on NEA to respect the result of the referendum as an expression of the peoples of Davao del Norte and Compostela Valley’s right to choose their electricity provider. We are also calling for the scrapping of EPIRA which, after 17 years, has only strengthened the private monopoly control of big corporations in the country’s energy sector.#