Groups hit local execs for using gov’t resources to stage rally supporting private firm
TAGUM CITY — Two big consumer groups with branches nationwide slammed the top officials of Davao del Norte province for using government vehicles and facilities to rally against the Northern Davao Electric Cooperative (Nordeco) and benefit the Aboitiz-owned Davao Light and Power Company (DLPC).
The groups Coalition Against Privatization of Electric Cooperatives (Capecs) and the National Center of Electric Cooperative Consumers (NCECCO) said in a Labor Day rally on May 1 that Davao del Norte Gov. Edwin Jubahib used government-issued vehicles in a rally on April 4, supporting House Bills 5077, 6740, and 7047 that would allow DLPC to expand in areas covered by the Nordeco franchise.
Capecs also claimed that a memo issued by Jubahib’s office on April 3, the eve of the April 4 rally, required provincial department, division and program heads to join the rally along with their employees.
Jubahib has yet to reply to the Inquirer’s request for comment but in a statement issued to reporters, he slammed Nordeco for using Labor Day to stage a rally for Nordeco’s interests instead of championing the rights and welfare of workers.
“They have shown a complete disregard for the values that the Labor Day movement represents,” the governor said.
“Rather than addressing their shortcomings and focusing on improving their service, they have chosen to (direct everyone’s) attention to the privatization issue – a transparent ploy designed to protect their own interests,” said Jubahib, who had publicly campaigned for the entry of DLPC in Davao del Norte, citing among the reasons the high electricity rates charged by Nordeco.
Aside from Jubahib, the mayors of the capital city of Tagum and six towns of Davao del Norte have also been supporting the House bills allowing DLPC to expand in Nordeco areas.
Those who attended the April 4 rally included Tagum City Vice Mayor Allan Rellon, Kapalong Municipal Mayor Maria Theres Timbol, Asuncion Municipal Vice Mayor Reynante Ayucan, San Isidro Municipal Mayor Silvano Gaje, and New Corella Mayor Jorjan Federiso.
The Capecs and NCECCO’s Labor Day march was the latest of Nordeco’s efforts to shore up support against moves to allow DPLC to take over part or nearly three-fourth of its franchise coverage in Davao del Norte and Davao de Oro provinces.
Nordeco employees and supporters from the two provinces marched through the city’s downtown area, bearing streamers in support of Nordeco, while other participants in elaborate costumes danced.
“As a coalition, Capecs condemns in strongest terms this move by government officials,” said the Capecs statement. “(They attack) government’s (own) implementing arm of the rural electrification program,“ Capecs added, referring to Nordeco.
The ralliers also called on the governor to respect the move by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., who earlier vetoed the bill that would allow the entry of DLPC in the Nordeco area.
Rev. Angelico Cofreros Jr., chairperson of Capecs, said the Labor Day march rally was meant to support the struggle of the labor sector, which made up most of Nordeco’s member-consumers.
“We also want our leaders, particularly Governor Jubahib, to heed the people’s voice,” Cofreros said. “We urge him to talk to the people and not side with a private entity interested in seizing (the areas served by) Nordeco,” Cofreros told reporters after a Mass at the Queen Apostle College Seminary in this city.