By ROGER M. BALANZA
A town mayor in Davao del Norte said politicians should keep their hands off attempts by a power giant to take over the Northern Davao Electric Cooperative (NORDECO).
Asuncion Mayor Eufracio Dayaday, who is against the take over, said privatizing the power cooperative should be decided by consumers not politicians as six mayors of Davao del Norte signed a petition seeking to allow Davao Light and Power Company (Dalight) to take over the operation of NORDECO.
Dayaday is the lone mayor who refused to sign the petition.
The six mayors prodded by Governor Edwin Jubahib, a prime mover of the take over move, to sign the privatization petition were Tagum City Mayor Allan Rellon, IGACOS Mayor Al David Uy, Talaingod Mayor Jinnie Libayao, Kapalong Mayor Maria Theresa Timbol, New Corella Mayor Jorjan Federiso and San Isidro Mayor Arnel Sitoy.
It is the people not politicians like mayors who should decide on the privatization of NORDECO, said Dayaday, speaking in Cebuano, in an interview on Monday, July5, 2021, in the program Bakbak on Tagum City-based RPFM 99.9.
Dayaday said he refused to sign the petition because he was not in a meeting by mayors where the subject was said to have been discussed.
Dayaday, a lawyer, also said the people should decide on the privatization only after consultations and discussions on the advantages and disadvantages of the turnover of NORDECO to Dalight.
The issue should be handled carefully and not hastily because it will have an impact on the day-to-day lives of the people of Davao del Norte, Dayaday told Bakbak anchorman Kid Libunao.
Reacting to claims that the power company had not served the needs of the people, Dayaday said NORDECO had survived for more than 50 years despite its problems, and should be given the chance to further serve the people of Davao del Norte.
Citing an advantage if NORDECO remains as a cooperative, Dayaday said the cooperative will continue to receive support from the government. He said NORDECO wuuld lose the support if it is privatized.
The attempt to privatize NORDECI started with a signature campaign posted online which urged Dalight to take over the areas within the remaining franchise area of NORDECO in Davao del Norte. Dalight already serves part of the province.
The online campaign initiated by the DavNor Consumer Coalition launched in change.org came at the same time as Davao del Norte First District Congressman Pantaleon Alvarez and Governor Edwin Jubahib also started a ground-level campaign luring signatures to the petition.
Privatization emerged as an unpopular move with the Alvarez-Jubahib effort getting only more than 10,000 signatures with nearly 100,000 against the move in a counter-petition organized by NORDECO.
Mario Angelo Sotto, general manager of Nordeco, said certain groups and individuals, whom he did not name, with vested interests, were behind the move to turn over NORDECO to Dalight.
“These groups only wanted to make money out of the privatization of the cooperative ,” said
Sotto was part of the team that President Rodrigo Duterte assigned to the cooperative to resolve more than two decades of fighting by two groups over control of the electric cooperative. Duterte’s intervention led to the creation of NORDECO, formerly the Davao del Norte Electric Cooperative (Daneco) .