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PBBM veto on Davao Light franchise expansion praised

MONTEVISTA, Davao de Oro—The decision of President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. to veto the bill seeking to expand the franchise of the Aboitiz-owned Davao Light and Power Company (DLPC) over franchise covered area of Northern Davao Electric Cooperative (Nordeco) is well-informed and well-researched.

Lawyer Jeneene Dopay-Colingan, Executive Director and General Manager of Philippine Rural Electric Cooperatives Association (Philreca), issued this statement before local media in a press conference here to laud the President’s decision to veto House Bill 10554.

Electric cooperatives joined the thanksgiving caravan of Northern Davao Electric Cooperative (Nordeco) from Tagum City to Montevista town in Davao de Oro.

She said the President’s decision to veto the bill has shown that doing the right thing in the face of adversities would prevail over power and money, reffering to politicians in Davao del Norte allegedly in cahoots with DLPC operators to take over some of the franchise areas of Nordeco.

For his part, lawyer Daniel Campoamor, Nordeco’s legal counsel, said President Marcos could be convinced in their argument they submitted within the five-day period that he exercised his veto power.

Asked about their reaction that President Marcos supported them in spite of the fact that Nordeco campaigned for former vice president Leni Robredo, Elvera Alngog, Officer–In–Charge of Nordeco, explained that it is normal to support the leadership of the new President who won the election.

“Recognizing what is right does not mean to recognize the political color,” Colingan added.

Alngog admitted the veto of the bill is still 90 percent success and 10 percent challenge since there are people inside their inner circle who may have worked against their struggle.

In a press statement, Nordeco said the President’s stand on the bill is a manifestation of his commitment to the total electrification program of the country as mandated in Presidential Decree No. 269, enacted by his later father, former President Ferdinand Marcos, Sr.

“His recognition of the existing franchise of Nordeco shows his utmost respect for the laws of the land,” the statement said.

In his veto message addressed to the Senate and the House of Representatives on July 27, the President said Nordeco has existing franchises in the same areas, which will last until 2028 and 2033.

Had the measure become law, DLPC would distribute electricity for the next 25 years in Tagum City, the Island Garden City of Samal, and the towns of Talaingod, Asuncion, Kapalong, San Isidro, and New Corella, all in Davao del Norte province where Nordeco also operates.

“I am constrained to veto the bill due to the susceptibility of the proposed expansion of the franchise area of Davao Light and Power Company Inc. to legal and/or constitutional challenge due to the apparent overlap and possible infringement into the subsisting franchise, permits, and contracts previously granted to North Davao Electric Cooperative Inc.,” Marcos said.

Nordeco officials and workers celebrated their victory with a caravan in Tagum City towards Montevista town, with neighboring electric cooperatives joining them with a long queue of vehicle caravans. Each car has a tarpaulin thanking President Marcos for exercising his veto power.

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