Kim’s Dream Orlan Ravanera
Electric Coops Perpetuate Social Injustice
SOCIAL injustice looms in so many ways in a highly skewed societal order. It is seen in the life of the peasantry telling the land not their own, and if they own the land, they do not control the mode of production and marketing. This is the reason why everyone profits from farming except those who work under the excruciating heat of the sun – the farmers.
It is manifested in the life of the Filipino buyers who are victims of so many marketing layers as everything sold in this country, from needles to tractors, passes at least five marketing layers. A bag of Ammonium Sulfate fertilizer which is just bought in Ukraine at P100 per bag is sold in Mindanao at P1,500. Lipitor bought in New Delhi at 30 centavos per pill is sold in the Philippine pharmacies at P50.
But the height of social injustice is perpetuated in the life of the 13 million member-consumer- owners (MCOs) of so called Electric Cooperatives who until now are deprived of their fundamental right as shareholders of their respective multi-billion peso ECs.
Every time the MCOs will claim such right, they will just be told that they have only contributed P5 as membership fee. The truth is, in the unbundling of their monthly payment, it is shown that from the very beginning, each MCO has been paying two items as their patronage contributions which are: a) the total amortization cost which is about P0.36/kWh and b) the provision for Reinvestment which is about P0.11/kWh. This means a monthly capital contribution of about P94.54 based on the monthly consumption of about 200kWh per month or about P1,134.48 per year. After all these years (about 80 years as MCOs), each one has a total patronage capital contribution of about P90,000. This is very categorically stated in the EC’s By-Laws under Sec. 1, Article 2, “the members are the joint owners of the Cooperative with their individual equity in its assets determined on the basis of their patronage.”
I was informed that the MCOs are not even notified of their respective patronage capital contribution which is contrary to the provision of the By-Laws under 2(b) Article VII, “. . . within a reasonable time after the close of the fiscal year notify each patron of the amount of capital so credited to his account.”
There are about 119 ECs in the country and in region 10 alone, we have about eight, namely: Fibeco, Buseco, Moresco 1 and 2, Camelco, Moelci 1 and 2, Moresco 1 and 2, and Laneco and all these years, these so-called ECs have not recognized the MCOs’ patronage capital contribution. Such is the height of social injustice. This is a contributing factor to why the people are still in the quagmire of poverty.
There are some 13 million Member-Consumer-Owners (MCOs) in the country who until now their capital contributions have not been recognized. In a family of 5, some 65 million Filipinos are deprived of their monthly patronage refund of about P3,000 to P5,000 per month per family. Indeed, these so-called Electric Cooperatives are cooperatives in name only as they are not practicing the essence and values of cooperativism. Such truism was glaringly stated in a landmark decision penned by the Supreme Court thru Justice Mariano del Castillo in 2003 that these so-called ECs are not genuine cooperatives and were mandated to follow the universally-accepted cooperative principles and values. Until now, the oligarchs-controlled cooperatives are masquerading as cooperatives. Such social wrong must be rectified. If you were the CDA Chairman and would follow the Supreme Court order, you will be harassed, even charged in court administratively and even criminally which happened to yours truly. May I thank the Sandigan Bayan for finding me NOT GUILTY criminally without civil liability.
In the past Mindanao-wide Cooperative Congress, the participants have the following Declaration: “We have witnessed hunger and poverty in an island oozing with ecological wealth. We are well aware that the cause of economic deprivation if rooted in the powerlessness of the people to have access and control over their resources and over their utilities which are fast slipping through their fingers.
Even the millions of MCOs of electricity are being deprived to exercise their rights as owners because those running the affairs of the so called electric cooperatives (ECs), who through all these years have formed powerful cabal of vested interest, are stubbornly insisting that these ECs are cooperatives despite the fact that they do not adhere to time honored and universally-accepted cooperative principles and practices and not withstanding the fact that Supreme Court has ruled resoundingly on the EC’s non tax exemption for not being genuine cooperatives.
However, instead of registering with CDA, what the ECs did was to “unleash formidable arsenal of lies, deceit, fear-mongering and cash-backed lobbying to ensure the continued proliferation and hold of private interest over electric cooperatives. Member-consumers were enticed with bags of grocery items and other goodies to sway their mindset. Lies and deceits were employed to cast doubt on the economic viability of electric cooperative if it would be registered with CDA.”
Let us serve notice to one and all that the only countervailing force against social injustice which is legal and peaceful is COOPERATIVISM. This is well stated in the 1987 Constitution which is “to promote the viability and growth of cooperatives as instruments of equity, social justice and economic development.” Indeed, let justice be done till heavens fall.
To the so-called Electric Cooperatives, here’s a poem for you:
My name is Veritas, so simple is my language
Mankind runs after me because I am a precious possession,
But to the rule of the so-called electric cooperatives, I am a threat
So, I have to be imprisoned in the dungeon to silence me
But there will always be lovers of truth who will seek for me
Because they cannot live without my presence
Many have marched to their death because of me
These ECs do not know that in the silence of the dungeon I gain strength
One day I will burst out into the open and
Liberate the oppressed to unfetter them from diabolic mindset.