The franchise of Panay Electric Company (PECO) to distribute electricity in Iloilo City has come to an end last January 19, 2019 and it is now operating by virtue of its Certificate of Public CPCN issued by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) which is due to expire in May 2019.
PECO, the power distributor of Iloilo City in the last nine decades, failed to get its franchise renewal after mining company Monte Oro Resources and Energy (MORE) of gambling magnate Enrique Razon maneuvered a hastily prepared franchise application at the House of Representatives and the Senate and got the nod. MORE has literally zero experience in power distribution.
Prior January 19th, Mayor Joe Espinosa III and the whole business community aired serious apprehension of a total power failure and everybody sighed relief after PECO categorically declared that they will not close business as it will fight for their unrenewed franchise.
As it happened, MORE immediately issued a statement reassuring the Ilonggos that they are now in the process of transition as the new power distributor of the city and promised a lower electricity rate the moment they take over.
Unfortunately, the assurance of MORE has remained callous and irrelevant as the President has not acted on their pending bill since January 16 and the transition they have been talking about cannot start since PECO has stood firm in its declaration that they are not selling their assets and would bring the matter to the courts in case of any attempt by MORE to subject their power plants to expropriation proceedings.
Except for a hastily crafted fight of a city councilor who wanted to become the city’s next congressman by making his anti-PECO stand as his campaign battle cry; a cold-bloodied murder of Ging Ging Nava who spilled the beans on the anomalous anti-PECO signature drive; and the continuing representation of a presidential appointee that the anti-PECO sentiments have reached the Office of the President already that continue to hold ground against PECO, MORE’s existence in the city is only a business permit deal.
Amid MORE’s massive propaganda that they are working hard for a transition, it has not until today erected a lone electricity pole in the city and could not even present a timeline for their operation.
The promise of a much lower electricity rate remains, well, a comforting set or words.
In the meantime, PECO continues to serve Iloilo City and has vowed to serve the public at large until they regain their franchise by all legal means available.
We can only hope that eventually that the silent Ilonggo congressmen particularly Iloilo City Rep. Jerry Trenas and the Ilonggo Senator Franklin Drilon who failed to oppose the franchise application of MORE and did so perhaps by looking at a campaign booty for 2022 from Razon would soon realize their own mistakes.