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By Francis Allan L. Angelo

 

(Conclusion)

 

ILOILO Electric Cooperative (Ileco) 3 is bound to pay Applied Research Technologies Phils., Inc. (Artech) for excess energy whether or not the cooperative consumes the annual minimum energy take-off (MEOT), which is way beyond projected demands, based on their bribe-tainted 25-year power supply agreement (PSA).

 

But the 25-year PSA does not penalize Artech for failure to deliver the MEOT nor does it exempt Ileco 3 from paying the independent power producer if it fails to fulfill its committed quantity of energy.

 

Section 7 of the contract is silent on what will be the consequences if Artech does not deliver electricity except to restore supply the soonest.

 

Artech also did not guarantee in Section 8 of the PSA replacement sources of electricity in cases of scheduled maintenance of the plants. This will plunge Ileco 3 in darkness because majority of its supply will be sourced from the IPP.

 

Where will Ileco 3 get electricity during maintenance of Artech’s power plants? Who will pay for the replacement power and how much?

 

Section 9 of the contract burdens Ileco 3 for the system losses and transmission line maintenance.

 

The more contentious provision of the contract is Section 14.6 which allows Artech to transfer its rights in the agreement to another party after 30-day advance written notice.

 

This scenario already happened when Artech assigned its rights and obligations in a power purchase agreement with Capiz Electric Cooperative (Capelco) to Enervantage Suppliers Co. Inc.

 

Enervantage is a special project company jointly owned by TG Property Inc. and Artech.

 

TG Property Inc., which belongs to the Tanco Group, owns 70 percent of Enervantage.

 

Prior to transferring its rights and obligations to Enervantage, Artech entered into a 25-year PSA with Capelco to rehabilitate the 2 x 5.5MW Pielstick power plant in Capiz. The agreement also included the construction of a 5.5MW diesel power plant and a 40MW biomass power plant.

 

FORMULA

 

The PSA also does not assure that Ileco 3 consumers will enjoy lower power rates because Artech pegged its pricing to foreign currency exchange, local consumer price index or inflation, US consumer price index and fluctuations in oil prices in the world market.

 

These factors are present in Artech’s schedule of pricing (which is attached to the contract) even if it starts operating the 20-megawatt biomass power plant using sorghum as feedstock.

 

Engr. Reynaldo Uy, Artech president, and Domingo Beltran, Artech vice president for business development, said they will use 5,000 to 7,000 hectares for the sorghum plantation to sustain the operation of the biomass power plant.

 

So why include foreign exchange rate and US inflation in the pricing of electricity from the biomass plant when the feedstock will be planted within Ileco 3’s franchise area?

 

Artech pegged the base rate for the biomass plant at P5.90 per kilowatt-hour net of taxes and other ancillary charges. But during peak period (from 5pm to 10pm daily), the biomass plant will produce additional 5MW for the peak load at a base rate of P6.50 per kWh.

 

Since Artech will sell electricity more than what Ileco 3 needs, the cooperative will pay P55.6 million for the excess energy in the first three years of the contract. The amount will exceed P200 million during the 4th and 5th year of the contract.

 

The National Electrification Administration (NEA) has concluded its investigation on the Artech’s PSA with Ileco 3.

 

NEA has regulatory function over electric cooperatives because it extends loans to the cooperatives.

 

All resolutions and agreements entered into by cooperatives must also pass NEA scrutiny and approval.

 

But the Ileco 3 board of directors approved and signed the PSA sans NEA imprimatur.

 

NEA is set to release the results of its investigation in the next two weeks.

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By Francis Allan L. Angelo

 

PROPONENTS and defenders of the 25-year power supply agreement (PSA) between Iloilo Electric Cooperative (Ileco) 3 and Applied Research Technologies Phils., Inc. (Artech) promised cheaper and stable power to more than 41,000 consumers in northern Iloilo.

 

Based on a copy of the signed and notarized PSA obtained by The Daily Guardian, Artech promised to “build, operate and own” a 6-megawatt diesel-fired power plant within year 2010.

 

Some 36 months after the commissioning of the diesel-fired power plant, Artech will complete and commission a 20MW biomass-fired power plant.

 

Engr. Reynaldo Uy, Artech president, and Domingo Beltran, Artech vice president for business development, said in several media interviews that the diesel plant will provide power to Ileco 3 until the biomass plant goes online.

 

Based on Section 5.1 of the PSA, the diesel-fired power plant will operate in the first three years of the contract to provide 55.75 million kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity to Ileco 3 annually.

 

Artech pegged its base rate (net of taxes, ancillary and other charges) for the diesel plant at P6.64 per kWh.

 

Ileco 3 will pay for the minimum energy off-take (MEOT) or total quantity that Ileco 3 will have to buy from Artech whether or not it consumes that quantity.

 

Uy and Beltran said they will sell cheaper electricity to Ileco 3 because their base rate for electricity produced by the biomass plant is only P5.90 kWh. Still, this rate does not include taxes and other charges for the transmission and distribution of power.

 

But Section 5.1 of the PSA states that Artech will continue to operate the diesel plant even if the biomass plant is already in place and operating.

 

On the 4th year of the contract’s affectivity (the estimated period when the biomass plant starts running), the diesel plant will produce and sell 31.68 million kWh of electricity on top of the 39.6 million kWh from the biomass plant.

 

The biomass plant will also produce and sell another 13.2 million kWh of electricity to Ileco 3 for the peak load. In sum, Artech will sell a total of 84.48 million kWh to Ileco 3 for the 4th year of the contract.

 

On the 5th year and onward to the end of the contract, Artech will produce 31.68 million kWh from its diesel plant, 47.52 million kWh from the biomass plant and an additional 13.2 million kWh for the peak load. The total MEOT for this period will be around 92.4 million kWh.

 

The stipulated annual demand growth for 3rd and 4th years of the contract is 51% and 66%, respectively. Industry experts interviewed by this paper say no cooperative has posted such “outrageous growth”.

 

Department of Energy estimates the annual growth of electric cooperatives in rural areas from 2-5% annually. The energy department estimates show electricity demand growing at an annual 4.6 % in Visayas.

 

Based on the Integrated Computerized Planning Model of Ileco 3, the cooperative’s total demand in 2013 (which coincides with the 4th year of the contract) is only 73.958 million kWh. Its demand in 2014, or the 5th year of the contract, is only 77.930 million kWh, or a growth of 5.1%.

 

The aforementioned calculations do not include Ileco 3’s power supply deal with renewable power firm Asea One which joined the bidding conducted by the Panay-Guimaras power consumption.

 

As reported earlier, Ileco 3 will buy a total 70.75 million kWh from Artech and renewable power firm Asea One, which is 8.383 million kWh more than the projected demand of the cooperative of 62.367 million kWh for 2011.

 

Annually, Ileco 3 will pay P458.68 million to the two independent power producers (IPP), including P55.663 million in excess power, whether or not it consumes its MEOT from the two firms.

 

Artech will have to run its 6-MW diesel plant at 117% capacity in order to keep up with the MEOT stipulated in the contract. The standard capacity of plants to produce electricity is around 80%. The regular capacity may exceed 10% but only for one hour.

 

Because of the generation mix of Artech’s diesel and biomass plants from 4th year of the contract, the IPP’s base rate will remain at more than P6 per kWh, net of taxes, wheeling, transmission, distribution and other ancillary charges.

 

‘DOUBLE WHAMMY’

 

Section 5.5 of the PSA said Artech’s biomass plant is considered “available for delivery of electricity during the day if it is capable of continuous operations from 9am to 9pm at a minimum of 65% of its rated capacity.”

 

This section contradicts the intent of baseload operations which pertains to plants running 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Instead, Artech will only operate its plant for 10 hours at 65% capacity.

 

Sections 5.3 and 5.7 of the contract allow Artech to sell to another buyer its excess electricity if Ileco 3 fails to consume the minimum energy quantity stipulated in the contract.

 

If Ileco 3 pays for 92.4 million kWh of electricity but can only consume 80 million kWh, Artech can sell the excess power to another consumer or cooperative.

 

In cases of emergency caused by force majeure, Artech is willing to reduce Ileco 3’s MEOT to a maximum of 5%. But that deduction will be added to Ileco 3’s minimum off-take quantity in the succeeding contract year based on a schedule agreed by both parties.

 

CHEAPER RATES?

 

Artech’s base rates are pegged at P6.64 per kWh for the diesel plant and P5.90 per kWh for the biomass plant, net of taxes and other charges.

 

But Artech’s price will increase because the IPP pegged its rates to the foreign exchange rate, movement of oil prices in the world market, local consumer price index and US consumer price index, among others. This is indicated in the schedules of electricity rates for the diesel and biomass plants attached to the 25-year PSA.

 

Section 6.10.2 of the contract allows Artech to increase its price of electricity should there be changes in legal requirements of the power plant.

 

Artech can also increase its power rates should the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) require the IPP to buy equipment or spend for environmental protection requirements.

 

“Any additional capital expenditures in terms of equipment and/or facility required by the DENR to secure the ECC shall be negotiated by the parties in good faith corresponding to such increase,” Section 6.10.3 of the PSA said.  

 

Earlier, Engr. Edgar Mana-ay, a retired PNOC official, said a sorghum biomass plant (which Artech proposed to construct) churns out 80 tons of ash daily.

 

If the DENR requires Artech to install equipment and implement mitigating measures relative to ash disposal, the IPP will charge Ileco 3 for its additional investments.

 

Artech’s contract with Ileco 3 will also tie the cooperative’s assets to the IPP aside from shouldering financial burdens.

 

Section 6.9.1 of the contract require Ileco 3 to put up an escrow account in an unspecified commercial bank where the cooperative will deposit “an amount equal to or exceeds the monthly due” to Artech based on 8.3% of the annual minimum off-take quantity.

 

 

The escrow account adds financial burden to Ileco 3 since Artech’s billing payment is seven days after receipt of invoice. In this case, Ileco 3 shall advance the payment of uncollected billing for the month plus interest charges of the escrow.

 

Section 6.9.2 of the contract required Ileco 3 to maintain a P17-million revolving credit facility (RCF) with an unspecified commercial bank. Artech can avail the credit facility “in full or in part” to pay any due or outstanding obligation of Ileco 3 to the IPP.

 

In the banking and credit world, revolving credit facilities require collaterals. In this case, Ileco 3 will have to put up its assets as guarantee for the P17-million RCF. (To be concluded tomorrow)

Ileco 3 supply contracts exceed demand in 2011

 

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

 

CONSUMERS of Iloilo Electric Cooperative (Ileco) 3 will be made to pay electricity more than what they need if the cooperative pushes through with the 25-year power supply agreement (PSA) with an independent power producer (IPP).

 

This was the analysis of Ileco 3’s Technical Services Department (TSD) after going over the contract offered by Applied Research Technologies Phils., Inc. (Artech) and approved by the Ileco 3 board.

 

Based on the study conducted by Engr. Antonio Lazarraga, TSD manager, Ileco 3 will buy 15 million kilowatt-hours of electricity from Asea One, a renewable energy producer, and another 55.75 million kWh from Artech’s 6-megawatt diesel-fired power plant. This is because Ileco 3 recently signed a supply contract with Asea One, one of the IPPs that joined the bidding conducted by the Panay-Guimaras power consortium.

 

The minimum energy off take (MEOT) or total quantity that Ileco 3 will have to buy from the two IPPs will total 70.75 million kWh which is 8.383 million kWh more than the projected demand of the cooperative of 62.367 million kWh for 2011.

 

Ileco 3 will have to pay P458.68 million annually to Asea One and Artech for the power they contracted. And the cooperative will pay P55.663 million annually for the excess power whether or not it consumes its MEOT from the two IPPs.

 

The projected demand of Ileco 3 is embodied in its Integrated Computerized Planning Model which is regularly submitted to the National Electrification Administration (NEA).

 

In a simulation of Ileco 3’s electricity bill, residential consumers will pay P9.1229 per kWh for Artech’s generation charge alone. This does not include distribution charges and taxes mandated in the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (Epira).

 

In its contract, Artech offered a base rate of P6.64 for its diesel-fired power plant sans taxes and other charges.

 

Based on the same simulation, if a residential consumer pays P971.75 for consuming 103 kWh for the month of April 2009, the monthly bill will increase by 40.73% or P1,367.54 if Artech’s contract takes effect.

 

Commercial consumers will incur an average increase of 48.29% in their monthly bill while industrial users will incur 51.84% increase in their monthly bills, still based on Ileco 3’s simulation.

 

In Artech’s contract with Ileco 3, the cooperative will be compelled to buy 55.75 million kWh from Artech for the first three years using a 6MW diesel powered plant. This includes the peak load, or electricity that will be produced during the period of the day when electricity consumption rises.

 

But based on the calculation of Ileco 3, Artech will operate the diesel plant at 117 percent of its capacity just to produce 55.75 million kWh of electricity in one day.

 

The standard capacity of plants to produce electricity is around 80%. The regular capacity may exceed 10% but only for one hour.

 

Artech said in the contract its plant will have a heat rate of 10,000 British Thermal Unit (BTU), unit of energy used in the power, steam generation, heating and air conditioning industries.

 

But Artech’s plant is not “very sophisticated compared to existing plants” such as the 30-year-old Panay Diesel Power Plant in Dingle, Iloilo which has a heat rate of 9,600 BTU.

 

But the bigger question is this: Can Artech supply power to Ileco 3 using its biomass power plant? Will Artech’s offer result in cheaper power rates to consumers? (To be continued)

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

 

CATHOLIC faithful, particularly children, in the parish of Mandurriao, Iloilo City will have to refrain from kissing the hands of their priest.

 

Fr. Espiridion “Boy” Celiz, Mandurriao parish priest, said he asked parishioners, especially children, to refrain from kissing his hands to as part of precautionary measures against Influenza A (H1N1) virus.

 

Celiz said he might become a transmitter of the virus if an infected faithful kisses his hands.

 

“We have to take precaution because the symptoms of H1N1 flu are similar to common flu,” Celiz said.

 

Celiz said he also directed church caretakers to wipe church pews to minimize germs and viruses.

 

While the Catholic Church has yet to issue a definitive rule on holding of hands during mass, particularly in praying Our Father, Celiz said he already advised his parishioners that there is no need to hold each other’s hands.

 

“The Church does not require that we hold hands when praying Our Father,” he added.

 

He also discouraged churchgoers from kissing and wiping religious images with their handkerchief as part of precautionary measures.

 

Celiz also discouraged kissing and handshaking each other during the “kiss of peace” in Mass.

 

“The kiss of peace can be done with a simple nod of the head instead of kissing the cheeks or shaking hands with other churchgoers,” Celiz said.

 

The Department of Health advised the public to observe social distancing to prevent the spread of H1N1 flu virus in the country.

Suspected thief found dead

 

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

 

“GIVE him up or he won’t last 24 hours.”

 

This warning was received by Nimfa and Irene Malan, relatives of Carlos Lemery, 19, of Brgy. Kasing-Kasing, Molo, Iloilo City who is suspected of robbing the house of a City Hall executive.

 

Lemery was found dead Sunday morning at Brgy. Montinola, Jaro district. His head was injured using a blunt object, his foot sole hacked, his hands and feet were tied with wires aside from suffering multiple stab wounds.

 

The Molo police hunted Lemery for the burglary of the house of Mayet Geremias, former Task Force Adam’s Apple chief, at Brgy. Fundidor Sur, Molo district early morning Saturday.

 

Molo police investigators said Lemery’s cellphone was recovered from Geremias’ house.

 

The police were able to contact Lemery’s girlfriend, a certain Snooky who works in a night spot, who confirmed that her boyfriend owned the cellphone.

 

According to Irene Malan, Lemery’s aunt, two police officers whom she identified as PO2 Alolor and PO2 Adelantar, went to their house three times Saturday looking for her nephew.

 

The cops also warned the Malans that they will be implicated in the case against Lemery if they don’t cooperate.

 

Irene said the police warned them to surrender Lemery or he won’t last a day.

 

The following day, Lemery was found dead along the road of Brgy. Montinola.

 

Nimfa Malan, Lemery’s grandmother, said the police may have something to do with the death of her grandson because of the warning they issued.

 

Insp. Nestor Santacera, Molo police chief, said Lemery’s family may have misinterpreted his personnel’s statement.

 

Santacera said the warning pertained to Lemery getting arrested if he does not surrender to authorities.

 

He added the PNP does not tolerate or engage in summary execution of suspected criminals.

 

According to the Malans, Lemery was involved in a fight with his uncle but it was later settled.

 

“He is not involved in robbery or any crime. He works as a carpenter in construction projects,” Irene said.

By Lydia C. Pendon 

 

THE National Bureau of Investigation is set to conduct its separate investigation on the alleged bribery case involving directors of the Iloilo Electric Cooperative (Ileco) 3, Applied Research Technologies Phils. Inc. (Artech) and Iloilo governor Niel D. Tupas Sr.

 

This developed after the National Electrification Administration (NEA) began its own investigation on the 25-year power supply agreement (PSA) between Ileco 3 and independent power producer (IPP) Artech.

Presidential Assistant Raul Banias said he was informed of the NBI entry into the bribery investigation to hasten and determine the culpability of the persons involved in the bribery case. 

 

 

 

It was reported that Artech gave P150,000 as bribe money to members of Ileco 3 board. This was confirmed by board president Mateo Baldoza and director Rene Arandilla. Baldoza said the bribery took place at the house of the Iloilo governor last April 17 and on April 21 at Finerock Hotel. In his first interview over Aksyon Radyo, Baldoza said it was Governor Tupas who gave him the first envelope containing half of the P150,000 but later modified his revelation saying it was actually a female employee of Artech.

 

Tupas denied he helped Artech bribe the board to have the 25-year power supply contract approved.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

 

THE Real Estate Service Act (RESA) will increase revenues of local government units and minimize their reliance on the Internal Revenue Allocation from the national government.

 

Iloilo City Rep. Raul Gonzalez Jr., one of the authors of the proposed law in the House of Representatives, said RESA will professionalize real estate service practitioners include real estate consultants, appraisers, assessors, brokers and salespersons. It is expected to be signed by President Arroyo soon.

 

RESA, which was approved by the bicameral conference May 5, seeks to establish an effective regulatory regime for the real estate service through the creation of Professional Board of Real Estate Service Board (PRESB) composed of highly respected practitioners.

 

The PRESB will be under the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC). The board will then be mandated to come up with measures that will professionalize the careers involved in the real estate industry.

 

Gonzalez said government assessors, particularly those in local government units, will benefit from the law.

 

“The law will require our local assessors to secure licenses and undergo regular training. If their competence is honed, they will be able to assess the proper value of properties which will redound of collection the right amount real property taxes,” Gonzalez said.

 

RESA will also minimize manipulation and corruption of real properties by unqualified persons working under the present regulatory system of the real estate sector.

 

Gonzalez said real estate service practitioners can help ensure the movement of capital to support economic activities that will generate more resources for development projects.

 

Gonzalez said the World Bank and AusAID have been following the progress of the law.

 

“The World Bank and AusAID are supportive of the law because it will develop more confidence in the government valuation system and encourage investment in the real property market. Our ratings improved with the passage of the law,” he added

 

According to the Philippine Association of Realtors Board (PAREB), the real estate industry contributes only around 6.6% to the national income, which is way below the 50% potential contribution.

 

RESA will require only real estate consultants, appraisers, assessors and brokers to have licenses and other requirements.

 

Agents would be required to take licensure examination before becoming real estate brokers, real estate appraisers or real estate consultants.

 

Salespersons are only required to be accredited by the PRESB and may undergo certain trainings as may be prescribed by the board.

 

The law also includes a provision requiring a professional indemnity insurance/cash or surety bond for real estate brokers and private appraisers.

 

The bill sets the minimum limit at only P20,000 but the client is free to impose additional requirements depending on the transaction involved.

 

The provision serves as an additional security for the public when transacting with brokers or appraisers.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

 

SCHOOLS will open as scheduled on June 1 despite the confirmed cases of influenza A (H1N1) in the country, according to the Department of Health (DoH).

 

Dr. Jessie Glen Alonsabe, DoH regional epidemiologist, said their central office has yet to recommend the postponement of the opening of classes next week because there is no community outbreak of the flu yet.

 

Alonsabe said the DoH can help the Department of Education (DepEd) take precautionary measures and mount information campaign against H1N1 flu and other diseases afflicting students.

 

The League of Cities of the Philippines is mulling to recommend a nationwide postponement of the opening of classes on June 1 to monitor students returning from infected countries.

 

The Regional Disaster Coordinating Council will meet today in Camp Delgado to discuss precautionary measures against the flu under the DoH stewardship.

 

The DepEd central office has released a memorandum to intensify awareness drives and monitoring to prevent the H1N1 virus in schools.

 

The memorandum orders the creation of Anti-Influenza A (H1N1) Task Forces in the regional, division and district levels. It also orders school health and nutrition personnel to disseminate information about the virus to pupils and teachers. The memorandum comes with a four-page information sheet about the virus.

 

The memorandum, signed by DepEd Secretary Jesli Lapus, also ordered the establishment of H1N1 hotlines in all regional and division offices.

 

It orders teachers to work with their communities and local officials in the information drive and in identifying “residents of the community who have come from any H1N1-affected country/area.”

 

The DoH has confirmed two A (H1N1) cases. The first positive case was a 10-year-old girl who arrived in the country from the United States on May 18.

 

The second H1N1 patient is a 50-year-old female from Chicago, United States. She arrived in the Philippines on May 20.

 

The DoH said both patients showed improved conditions after undergoing treatment.

 

The Iloilo City government will mount a half-day advocacy and awareness forum seminar on H1N1 flu Thursday.

 

The forum, which is sponsored by a pharmaceutical company’s foundation, will cover topics to include briefing on A/H1N1, practical measures to protect and treatment, business contingency planning for critical utilities and current government efforts and plans.

 

Mayor Jerry Treñas said the City government’s advocacy campaign is on “full blast” as part of precautionary measures.

 

The City Health Office (CHO) also conducted a briefing with barangay health workers in the city.

 

Treñas said leaflets and flyers will be distributed to 180 barangays in the city.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

 

ILOILO Governor Niel Tupas Sr. questioned the credibility of the whistle blower of the alleged bribery that attended the power supply deal between Iloilo Electric Cooperative (Ileco) 3 and an independent power producer (IPP).

 

In his letter to Edita Bueno, National Electrification Administration chief, Tupas said the statements of former Regional Trial Court judge Mateo Baldoza, who is also the president of the Ileco 3 board of directors, is nothing but idle talk.

 

Baldoza claimed in an interview with Joel Tormon of Aksyon Radyo last May 5 that Tupas gave him an envelope containing P75,000 during a meeting with executives of Applied Research Technologies Phils., Inc. (Artech) at the governor’s house in Jaro, Iloilo City last April 17.

 

Baldoza later modified his statement saying it was a female employee of Artech, not Tupas, who gave him the envelope.

 

“The credibility of Atty. Baldoza is questionable. His supposed revelation is hearsay,” Tupas said in the letter dated May 22, 2009.

 

In an earlier media interview, Tupas said it was only Baldoza who claimed that money changed hands during the meeting with Artech.

 

“Of all the board members, he is the only one saying that he was bribed. Who will you believe then?” the governor said.

 

In his bloctime radio program over Aksyon Radyo Saturday, Iloilo provincial administrator Manuel Mejorada also lambasted Baldoza for changing his tune regarding the alleged bribery of the Ileco 3 board.

 

Mejorada said Baldoza has no credibility after the latter modified his statement in a latter interview with Inquirer correspondent Nestor Burgos Jr.

 

Mejorada earlier confirmed that Tupas summoned the Ileco 3 board and Artech officials led by Engr. Reynaldo Uy to a meeting at his house April 17.

 

In the same letter to Bueno, Tupas also assailed Presidential Assistant for Western Visayas Raul Banias for “twisting the truth.”

 

Banias, former mayor of Concepcion which is under Ileco 3 franchise, earlier wrote NEA asking for an investigation on the Ileco 3-Artech deal and the alleged bribe of the board of directors.

 

Tupas said it is not true that Baldoza “repeatedly admitted publicly over the media” that the governor gave the latter an envelope with P75,000 inside.

 

“Atty. Baldoza was interviewed only once when he made that statement,” he said.

 

Tupas added: “He (Banias) also embellished the false story by saying that the directors were ‘called one by one’ into a room. That wasn’t part of Atty. Baldoza’s statement in the radio interview. Asec. Banias is making up his own story.”

 

Tupas also defended Artech’s deal to Ileco 3 saying the IPP offered the lowest generation charge compared to other IPPs that joined the bidding conducted by the Panay-Guimaras power consortium.

 

REVELATION

 

Banias said that before the May 5 interview, Baldoza already revealed the alleged bribery to him, Ileco 3 director Rene Arandilla and other personalities in the 5th district.

 

Banias said that as early as Holy Week, Baldoza told him about the pressures the board received from Tupas to accept Artech’s offer.

 

Banias said Baldoza revealed the bribery in a text message and phone calls in the first week of May.

 

“It was Judge Baldoza who revealed the information to a lot of people even before his radio interview. If he changed his statement, only he knows why. But I believe in the integrity and probity of Judge Baldoza and I believe that he will eventually tell the truth,” Banias said.

 

Meanwhile, in his sworn affidavit dated May 13, 2009, Arandilla said Baldoza showed him an envelope filled with P75,000 cash given by a female Artech employee during their April 21 special board meeting, the same day they approved and signed the power supply deal at Finerock Hotel.

 

“I counted the money inside the envelope and determined to be containing P75,000 allegedly coming from Artech. President Baldoza told me to get P10,000 from the said amount because he will give the rest to the church but I refused,” Arandilla said.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

 

THE Department of Justice (DoJ) has ordered a second preliminary investigation on the assassination of vice mayor Ramon Rojas of Ajuy, Iloilo.

 

DoJ Secretary Raul Gonzalez said he tasked a three-man panel to conduct the second investigation.

 

The panel is composed of Senior State Prosecutor Edwin Dayog as chairman and Senior State Prosecutors Nolibien Quiambao and Romeo Galvez.

 

Gonzalez said he ordered the re-investigation after the Rojas family asked for a review of the decision of the Iloilo Provincial Prosecutor’s Office (IPPO) to junk the murder charges against businessman Vicente Espinosa and Lindsey Buenavista.

 

Espinosa is being tagged as the mastermind of the vice mayor’s slay last May 22, 2008 in the town proper of Ajuy.

 

Gonzalez said the second preliminary investigation will include the affidavit of Dennis Cartagena of Baraulan, San Enrique, Iloilo, one of the alleged gunmen in the case.

 

The DoJ chief said Cartagena’s affidavit was not included in the preliminary investigation conducted by the IPPO because the suspect was arrested after the IPPO absolved Espinosa.

 

Cartagena claimed in his affidavit that Espinosa ordered him and Edgar Cordero to kill vice mayor Rojas.

 

Cordero was shot to death in Butuan City last year, an incident believed to be linked to the Rojas slay case.

 

Meanwhile, the Presidential Anti-Graft Commission (PAGC) asked the Office of the Ombudsman to investigate the complaint of the Rojas family relative to the purported slow progress of the Rojas slay case.

 

Bombo Radyo Iloilo reported that PAGC Commissioner Jaime Jacob wrote Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez to investigate why the DoJ has yet to decide on the petition for review filed by the Rojases since last year.

 

Board Member Jett Rojas, a cousin of the slain vice mayor, said he has no knowledge about PAGC’s letter to the Ombudsman.

 

“What I know is that many members of the Rojas family in the US and Europe do not stop doing research and communicate with people in the Philippines who might be of help. The case is stranded in the prosecution level,” BM Rojas said in a text message to The Daily Guardian.

 

The board member said their family is still grieving because they have yet to get justice a year after their cousin was killed.

 

Gonzalez said he feels bad about the complaint of the Rojas family while explaining to them the process that the case must undergo.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

 

THREE members of the House of Representatives from Western Visayas are among the 10 richest lawmakers in the country.

 

Based on his Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net (SALN) Worth, Negros Occidental Representative Julio Ledesma IV is the 3rd richest congressman in the country with P571.979 million in assets, and P124.450 million in liabilities.

 

Iloilo 2nd district Rep. Judy Jalbuena-Syjuco is the 5th richest House member with P278.018 million in assets and P12.5 million in liabilities.

 

Iloilo 4th district Rep. Ferjenel Biron has P191.3 million assets with no liabilities, earning him the 7th spot in the list of richest House members.

 

Las Piñas Representative Cynthia Villar, wife of former Senate president Manuel Villar, retained the title as the richest and only billionaire member of the House with P1.046 billion in assets and no liabilities.

 

Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez (Leyte, 1st district), a banker and lawyer, is the second richest with P477.205 million in assets, sans liabilities.

 

San Jose del Monte Rep. Arturo Robes, a businessman, is in 4th place with P474.173 million in assets and P33.004 million in liabilities.

 

The 5th richest House member is Tarlac Rep. Monica Prieto-Teodoro, wife of Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro with P249.427 million in assets and P17 million liabilities; while Ilocos Norte Rep. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is in 8th place with P179.980 million assets with no liabilities.

 

Rep. Edgar San Luis of Laguna is in 9th place with P165.097 million assets sans liabilities; Pampanga Rep. Aurelio Gonzales Jr. is on 10th place with P162.472 million in assets with P983,480 liabilities.

 

Rep. Ignacio Arroyo of Negros Occidental, the brother of First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo, and President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s sons, Juan Miguel Arroyo of Pampanga and Diosdado Arroyo of Camarines Sur, are among the top 30 richest House members.

 

The Arroyos trace their roots to Iloilo and Negros Occidental.

RESIGN   Consumers hold placards calling for the resignation of Ileco 3 board of directors during the hearing conducted by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan Tuesday on the alleged anomalous deal between the cooperative and Artech. (Photo by Tara Yap)

RESIGN Consumers hold placards calling for the resignation of Ileco 3 board of directors during the hearing conducted by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan Tuesday on the alleged anomalous deal between the cooperative and Artech. (Photo by Tara Yap)

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

 

THE National Electrification Administration (NEA) has begun its investigation on the power supply agreement (PSA) between Iloilo Electric Cooperative (Ileco) 3 and an independent power producer (IPP).

 

Atty. Omar Mayo of the NEA legal office leads the investigation on the deal between Ileco 3 and Applied Research Technologies Phils., Inc. (Artech).

 

Assisting Mayo in the probe is Nixon Bautista, Electric Cooperative Operations Systems Audit Division OIC.

 

The investigating panel first looked for a copy of the 25-year PSA between Ileco 3 and Artech.

 

The panel also summoned Engr. Antonio Lazarraga, chief of Ileco 3 Technical Services Division, who made the comparative study and simulation of Artech’s proposal to the cooperative.

 

Lazarraga’s study showed that Artech’s generation charge will reach more than P8 per kilowatt-hour using diesel fired and biomass power plants.

 

The investigators also summoned Ileco 3 board secretary Joy Fuentes and the minutes of their special board meeting last April 21, the day the board approved and signed agreement.

 

Mayo said all resolutions passed by the Ileco 3 board must first be examined and approved by NEA before implementation.

 

In an earlier interview, Ileco 3 board legal counsel Edison Belloga said NEA approval of their resolutions is only ministerial in nature.

 

Ileco 3 board president Mateo Baldoza will also be summoned to shed light on the alleged bribery of the cooperative directors in exchange for the approval of Artech’s proposal.

 

Baldoza claimed in an interview with Joel Tormon of Aksyon Radyo last May 5 that he received an envelope containing P75,000 from Governor Niel Tupas Sr. during a meeting with Artech officials April 17 at the governor’s house in Jaro, Iloilo City.

 

Baldoza later modified his statement saying it was a female employee of Artech, not Tupas, who gave him the money.

 

The former judge received another envelope with P75,000 cash from a female Artech worker April 21 after they approved and signed the PSA.

 

Ileco 3 director Rene Arandilla said in his sworn affidavit that he counted the money Baldoza allegedly received from Artech on April 21.

 

Presidential Assistant for Western Visayas Raul Banias said Baldoza also told him about the alleged pressures and bribe they receive from Artech and Tupas.

 

TUPAS IS MAD

 

Tupas continues to fend off the alleged bribery of Ileco 3 directors that happened in his house.

 

In his letter to NEA Administrator Edita Bueno, Tupas countered the “wild, malicious and patently false accusations made by Presidential Assistant Raul Banias.”

 

Banias wrote and met Bueno last week to ask for an investigation on the Ileco 3-Artech deal.

 

Tupas told Bueno that the alleged “bribery” is not true.

 

“I did not hand over to Atty. Baldoza anything, much more an envelope containing P75,000 in cash. The story was concocted to implicate me in this controversy and put the transaction in bad light. It is not true, as alleged by Asec. Banias in his letter, that Atty. Baldoza ‘repeatedly admitted publicly over the media’ that I gave him an envelope with P75,000 inside. Atty. Baldoza was interviewed only once when he made that statement. The next day, perhaps bothered by his conscience, he retracted his statement in another interview with Philippine Daily Inquirer correspondent Nestor Burgos, Jr.,” the governor said.

 

The governor also questioned Baldoza’s credibility saying his supposed revelation is hearsay.

 

Tupas also defended the Ileco 3-Artech contract saying the IPP’s generation charge is P6.64 per kwh for the first three years for power generated by a diesel-fueled plant it will put up, and then P5.90 per kwh from a biomass power plant that is expected to be operational by 2013. 

 

Artech’s rates are cheaper compared to other IPPs that are putting up power plants in Iloilo, Tupas said.

 

“Clearly, there is no such thing as overpriced power rates. Besides, the PSA will still have to pass through the scrutiny of the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC). The issue is without basis,” he added.

 

Tupas cautioned NEA against making any “hasty and precipitate actions that would be prejudicial to the public interest.”

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

 

THE Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) is monitoring 33 businesses in Western Visayas as part of the agency’s Oplan Kandado.

 

Alert Alocilja, director of BIR Region 11 which covers Western Visayas, said the agency is conducting covert and overt surveillance operations on these establishments.

 

“We send undercover personnel to these establishments to monitor the businesses. We also go over their books to find out if their tax declarations reflect their actual sales,” Alocilja said.

 

Alocilja said businesses can be closed down on four grounds: failure to file tax returns, failure to declare gross sales by more than 30%, failure to issue receipts and failure to register with BIR.

 

On Wednesday, Nelson Aspe, BIR deputy commissioner for operations, led the closure of Pirates bar and restaurant in Smallville Business and Leisure Park in Mandurriao, Iloilo City.

 

Aspe, who also heads Oplan Kandado, said the establishment was padlocked for under declaration of gross sales and failure to issue value added tax invoices.

 

Nelia Dimalata, revenue district officer for Iloilo, said the management’s total sales for 2008 and first quarter of 2009 under declared by more than 30%.

 

Alocilja said they want to send a lesson to tax evaders in the region by aggressively pursuing Oplan Kandado.

 

Alocilja said they are also trying to arrest their collection deficit after they fell short of their target revenue for the first quarter of 2009.

 

Based on data from Alocilja, BIR Western Visayas collected P1.5 billion, 5.31% (P600 million) higher than their collection for the first four months of 2008.

 

In April 2009, BIR collected P530 million, which is P28 million more than the agency’s April 2008 collection.

 

But Alocilja said they are still staring at a 30% collection deficit, around P400 million, against their target.

 

Alocilja said the deficit was also brought about by tax output deductions of businesses in Western Visayas that were damaged by typhoon Frank in June 2008.

 

“Some of the businesses bought new equipment and materials to replace their equipment damaged by the typhoon. These new materials are subject to input tax which can be deducted from the output tax. If the input tax is bigger than their sales, that can be deducted from the output tax. The deductions were filed this April affecting our collection,” Alocilja said.

 

Alocilja said the output tax deductions will be carried over for a minimum of three years.

 

Alocilja said they are revising their target collection this year due to adjustments in gross domestic sales and other economic indicators. The prevailing financial crisis is also a factor, he added.

 

“We will try to catch up in the following months to reach our target through aggressive tax campaigns,” he added.

 

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

 

THE alleged sex video of Dr. Hayden Kho and sultry actress Katrina Halili also took the Iloilo City Council by storm.

 

After the council passed the resolution sponsored by Councilor Eldrid Antiquiera condemning Kho for allegedly filming and spreading the video, Councilor Julienne Baronda told the body that she has a copy of the video in her laptop copy.

 

The councilors flocked Baronda’s table to view the video which is spreading in the country like wildfire.

 

Councilor Eduardo Peñaredondo called for a 15-minute recesss so their colleagues could view the whole controversial video but Councilor Erwin Plagata refused to grant the request.

 

Plagata said he found it ridiculous to view the video inside the session hall at the second Iloilo Terminal Market reason why he declined to go on recess.

 

Plagata said the councilors should have not watched the video during the session because they already condemned it though Antiquiera’s resolution.

 

Baronda denied showing the video to her colleagues saying she has no copy.

 

“At first, I had difficulty opening my wireless fidelity (wi-fi) connection to the Internet so we could see an online copy of the video. But we failed to find an active link. All we saw were pictures of another actress who also has a sex video with Dr. Hayden Kho,” Baronda said.

 

Councilor Perla Zulueta said she only saw pictures of Halili and Maricar Reyes but not the video.

 

But Zulueta said she was surprised when other councilors flocked Baronda’s table where her laptop was situated.

 

“I was talking to my secretary when I sensed that the other councilors were already flocking Jam-Jam’s table. Then I heard Tongtong Plagata say ‘Go back to your seats’. Maybe they saw the video at that instance,” Zulueta said.

 

 

STRONG CONDEMNATION

 

Antiquiera’s resolution strongly condemned the “dastardly act” of taping and releasing for public viewing of the sex video of Kho and Halili.

 

Antiquiera said they saw the video in Baronda’s laptop during the session.

 

Baronda said the distribution of the sex video is “a cruel act against women especially that Halili was not aware she was being filmed.”

 

Antiquera said they are not blaming the couple if they have sex in private but it is something else when their tryst is filmed and released to the public.

 

Copies of the sex video are selling like hot potato in Iloilo City and the rest of the country after it was leaked to the public.

 

Antiquiera said Kho can be liable for various criminal offenses if proven that he is responsible for spreading the sex video.

 

He said the resolution will be submitted to the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) to support calls for the possible revocation of Kho’s medical license.

By Tara Yap

 

THE woman from Aklan tested negative for influenza A virus (H1N1).

 

“We got the result of the swab sample Wednesday afternoon.  It was negative,” DOH 6 regional director Dr. Ariel Valencia told The Daily Guardian.

 

The result was forwarded to Western Visayas Medical Center (WVMC), which serves as the designated hospital in Panay for H1N1 case under observation (CUO), from the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine.

 

Dr. Valencia added the patient was discharged from the hospital as soon as the result was released.

 

The woman arrived in the Philippines May 12 for a vacation in her hometown of Balete in Aklan province.  She resides in Daly City, California. United States is one of the countries with positive H1N1 cases.

 

She was quarantined in WVMC May 18 after exhibiting symptoms of suspected H1N1 including fever and cough for four days. 

 

Meanwhile, Dr. Valencia reiterated DOH’s call to the public to remain calm and not panic.

 

He also urged the public, especially Filipinos coming home from countries where there are positive cases of H1N1, to remain vigilant.

 

“They should be aware of the health advisory and follow the protocol set by the Bureau of Quarantine once they arrive in the country,” Dr. Valencia stressed.

 

Moreover, Dr. Valencia is preparing for the regional meeting of the Regional Disaster Coordinating Council (RDCC) on May 26.  The agenda includes readiness of difference government agencies in beefing up safety measures and proper handling of persons suspected to be infected with H1N1.

CLOSED BIR deputy commissioner Nelson Aspe (right) padlocks Pirates Bar and Restaurant. (FAA)

CLOSED BIR deputy commissioner Nelson Aspe (right) padlocks Pirates Bar and Restaurant. (FAA)

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

 

THE Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) temporarily closed a bar and restaurant in Mandurriao, Iloilo City for violating tax laws.

 

Nelson Aspe, BIR deputy commissioner for operations, led the closure of Pirates Bar and Restaurant at Smallville complex in Mandurriao.

 

Aspe, who also heads Oplan Kandado, said the basis for the closure of Pirates is the establishment’s failure to issue value added tax (VAT) invoice and under declaration of sales.

 

BIR’s Oplan Kandado aims to shut down firms that do not file tax returns or issue statements of tax return on purpose and those that deliberately understate their revenues or income by more than 30 percent. 

 

“Would you believe that nung Valentines Day, isang resibo lang ang na issue nila? Ang daming taong pumupunta dito eh,” Aspe said.

 

Nelia Dimalata, BIR Revenue District Office N0. 74 chief, said the bar’s sales for 2008 and the first quarter of 2009 were undeclared by more than 30%.

 

Dimalata declined to give the exact figures of Pirates’ tax delinquency but Aspe said “it runs in the hundreds of thousands.”

 

Aspe said if Pirates pay its tax arrears, the closure will only last for five days.

 

“But if they don’t pay, they will stay closed aside from incurring penalties and interests on top of their unpaid taxes,” Aspe.

 

The management of the bar declined to comment to the media for the meantime.

 

Aspe said they are monitoring other commercial establishments in Iloilo for tax evasion.

 

“Businesses who don’t pay the right taxes will be closed down. We have to show to them that the BIR has teeth also. It is about time that we show the taxpayers that the BIR has the capability to detect their efforts to cheat the government of the rightful amount of tax due it,” Aspe said.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

 

THE Sangguniang Bayan of Sara, Iloilo unanimously approved a resolution calling for a congressional inquiry on the alleged bribery of Iloilo Electric Cooperative (Ileco 3) board of directors in exchange for the approval of a power supply deal with an independent power producer (IPP).

 

The Sara municipal board passed Resolution No. 7-2009 during its regular session May 11, 2009. It urged the House committee on legislative franchises to conduct an inquiry on the contract between Ileco 3 and Applied Research Technologies Phils., Inc. (Artech).

 

The committee on legislative franchises has jurisdiction on matters directly and principally relating to the grant, amendment, extension or revocation of franchises to sectors such as power, telecommunication, media broadcast, among others.

 

The board said member-consumers of Ileco 3, including residents of Sara, were shocked with the admission of Ileco 3 board president Mateo Baldoza over the media that he allegedly received P75,000 from Governor Niel Tupas Sr. and Artech in two separate occasions.

 

Baldoza would later modify his statement saying a female employee of Artech gave the money to him in a meeting with officials of the IPP at Tupas house in Jaro, Iloilo City last April 17.

 

Tupas also denied bribing Baldoza and exerting pressure on the board to approve and sign the 25-year power supply agreement (PSA) with Artech.

 

The second tranche of the purported bribe money was given to Baldoza April 21 after the board approved and signed the PSA at Fine Rock Hotel in Iloilo City.

 

The resolution said Ileco 3 approved and signed the deal “with extraordinary haste and speed” sans prior consultation with the cooperative’s technical personnel or management.

 

The SB also quoted the comparative study and simulation of Ileco 3’s Technical Services Department which “glaringly revealed” that the proposals of Artech in the PSA are “most grossly disadvantageous to Ileco 3 consumers as it offers the highest power rate.”

 

The SB also hit Ileco 3 directors for approving the deal despite the fact that Artech did not participate in the bidding conducted by the Panay-Guimaras power consortium.

 

The action of the Ileco 3 board, the resolution said, violated the provisions of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001 which directs cooperatives and distribution utilities to look for cheapest sources of power though a competitive process such as bidding.

 

The resolution also questioned the failure of the Ileco 3 board to submit the PSA to the National Electrification Administration (NEA) for review prior to the approval and signing of the contract.

 

Aside from the congressional inquiry, the SB also passed another resolution asking NEA to investigate the deal between Ileco 3 and Artech.

 

Other towns in the 5th congressional district covered by the Ileco 3 franchise are also planning to pass their respective resolutions seeking the revocation of the PSA and investigation on the alleged bribery issue.

 

The resolutions were presented to the fact-finding investigation conducted by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan Tuesday in Sara covered gym.

 

NEA administrator Edita Bueno confirmed with The Daily Guardian that they dispatched a team of investigators to look into the Ileco 3-Artech deal.

 

Sources from Ileco 3 said the investigating team, composed of technical and legal personnel of NEA, will also look into Artech’s deal with Capiz Electric Cooperative.

 

Presidential Assistant for Western Visayas Raul Banias, who also sent a letter complaint to Bueno, said he welcomes the House inquiry which will complement the ongoing NEA investigation.

 

Banias, a former mayor of Concepcion which is under Ileco 3, had confirmed Baldoza’s first statement that the latter received money from Tupas during the April 17 meeting.

 

“Administrator Bueno vowed to go into the bottom of this issue and impose the necessary actions. If the contract is proven onerous, the NEA can dismiss the entire Ileco 3 board,” Banias said.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo and Tara Yap

 

A TEAM of investigators from the National Electrification Administration (NEA) is already in Tuesday to start the probe on the alleged bribery of Iloilo Electric Cooperative (Ileco) 3 directors and the cooperative’s supply agreement with a power producer.

 

The investigators arrived after the Ileco 3 management team wrote sent a letter to NEA administrator Edita Bueno last week seeking an investigation on the 25-year power supply agreement (PSA) with Applied Research Technologies Phils., Inc. (Artech).

 

The management team also asked NEA to preventively suspend the board of directors headed by former judge Mateo Baldoza pending the investigation.

 

The NEA investigators arrived yesterday while the day the Sangguniang Panlalawigan was conducting a fact-finding investigation on the issue.

 

Bueno confirmed in a text message to The Daily Guardian that they sent investigators to look into the complaint of the Ileco 3 management team.

 

Baldoza claimed last May 5 that Governor Niel Tupas Sr. gave him an envelope filled with P75,000 cash during a meeting with Artech officials April 17 at the governor’s house in Jaro, Iloilo City.

 

Another envelope containing P75,000 cash was given to Baldoza by a female Artech worker during the board’s special meeting in Iloilo City April 21, the same day the PSA was approved and signed.

 

But Baldoza later modified his allegation saying it was not Tupas who gave him the first envelope but a female employee of Artech headed by Engr. Reynaldo Uy.

 

Ileco 3 director Rene Arandilla confirmed in his sworn affidavit that Baldoza showed him the cash-filled envelope the latter received April 21.

 

Dr. Raul Banias, Presidential Assistant for Western Visayas, said Baldoza told him about the pressures and bribe he received in exchange for the approval of Artech’s proposal.

 

Tupas’ camp denied the bribery in his house even as they blamed politics and business as the motive behind the exposé.

 

The provincial board probe was headed by Board Member Arthur Defensor Jr., committee on investments and economic enterprise chair.

 

As reported earlier, Gov. Tupas did not attend the hearing due to “prior commitments”. Also absent was Artech president Uy who instead sent Domingo Beltran, vice president for marketing and business development.

 

Beltran defended the PSA with Ileco 3 saying it will eventually drive down prices of electricity and give livelihood to consumers. He also denied that their company bribed Ileco 3 directors.

 

Except for Arandilla, the whole Ileco 3 board did not attend the hearing held at the Sara covered gym.

 

Arandilla reiterated his statements in his affidavit the board was summoned to a meeting with Artech officials in Tupas’ house.

 

After the meeting, Arandilla said Baldoza, a former court judge, told him that Tupas personally gave him P75,000 cash during the meeting.

 

Baldoza, who is in Cagayan de Oro City, said he will attend the next hearing if invited by the SP.

 

A brownout hit the covered gym during the investigation which disrupted the proceedings.

 

Ileco 3 employees were also seen wearing black armband in protest of the PSA which is seen to jack up prices of electricity in Ileco 3.

 

Several towns under Ileco 3 franchise presented their respective resolutions asking for the revocation of the PSA. They also urged for a congressional inquiry on the issue.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

ILOILO CITY – A US immigrant from Aklan province is under observation for A (H1N1) influenza at the Western Visayas Medical Center (WVMC).

 

According to Ariel Valencia, director of Department of Health (DoH) in Western Visayas, the 64-year-old female patient arrived in the Philippines from Daly City in California last May 12 to go on vacation in her hometown Balete, Aklan.

 

Four days later, May 16, she suffered from fever, cough and sore throat. Her case was reported to provincial and regional health officials May 17 and was admitted at the WVMC May 18.

 

Mr. Valencia said the patient is considered a case under observation until the results of her laboratory test are released.

 

Jessie Alonsabe, DoH regional epidemiologist, said the patient’s swab sample was sent to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine to determine if she has A (H1N1) virus.

 

“It’s a good thing that her daughter was a physician who knew the protocol for A (H1N1) flu. They did not bring the patient to any hospital because they brought her straight to WVMC which is the referral hospital for suspected A (H1N1) cases. We cannot discount any possible scenario because she came from one of the countries stricken with the flu,” Mr. Valencia said.

 

Mr. Alonsabe said the patient’s family also underwent self-quarantine.

 

“As of May 19, the patient’s temperature has normalized at 36.8 degrees although she still complains of abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, occasional cough and sore throat. We also gave her Oseltamivir as part of our protocol,” Mr. Alonsabe added.

 

Mr. Alonsabe said the DoH in Western Visayas has procured 5,000 tablets of Oseltamivir and 1,000 units of personal protection equipment as part of their preparation measures.

 

Mr. Valencia, who was designated as chair of the Regional Disaster Coordinating Council (RDCC), said he will meet the council next week to discuss proactive measures such as reporting and transport of persons with suspected A (H1N1) flu.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

 

SOME of the major protagonists in the alleged bribery of Iloilo Electric Cooperative (Ileco) 3 board of directors will not attend the public hearing initiated by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan in Sara, Iloilo today (May 19, 2009).

 

The probe, which was triggered by a privilege speech of 5th district Board Member Jett Rojas, is spearheaded by the committee on economic affairs and investments chaired by 3rd district BM Arthur Defensor Jr.

 

The investigation will focus on the alleged bribery of the Ileco board in exchange for the approval of a 25-year power supply agreement (PSA) with Applied Research Technologies Phils., Inc. (Artech).

 

Last May 5, former judge Mateo Baldoza claimed in an interview with Joel Tormon of Aksyon Radyo that Governor Niel Tupas gave him an envelope containing P75,000 during a meeting with Artech officials April 17 at Tupas’ house in MV Henchanova, Jaro, Iloilo City.

 

Another envelope containing P75,000 was also given to Baldoza by a female Artech employee April 21, the same day the board approved and signed the PSA.

 

Baldoza, however, later modified his statement saying it was not Tupas who gave him money during the April 17 meeting but a female Artech worker.

 

Baldoza and Tupas will not attend the SP hearing today “because of prior commitments”.

 

Tupas said he will send a letter to Defensor explaining why he cannot show up at the hearing.

 

Baldoza is said to be attending the wedding of his son in Cagayan de Oro City.

 

The committee also invited 5th district Rep. Niel “Jun-Jun” Tupas Jr. but the latter declined.

 

Mayor Raul Tupas of Barotac Viejo, which is under Ileco 3 franchise, will send a representative to the hearing.

 

Those who confirmed to attend the hearing are Presidential Adviser Raul Banias, Ileco 3 management team headed by Dory Joy Canones, Ileco 3 directors and 5th district mayors.

 

Engr. Reynaldo Uy, Artech president, will also attend.

 

Representatives of Global Business Power Corp. and Panay-Guimaras power consortium were also invited to the SP hearing.

 

Tupas had denied bribing the Ileco directors although he confirmed the meeting between the board and Artech at his house.

 

Iloilo provincial administrator Manuel Mejorada said Tupas had indeed arranged the meeting to expedite the deal between Ileco 3 and Artech to avert a looming power crisis.

 

Tupas said he favored the PSA because Ileco 3’s transition supply agreement with the National Power Corp. will expire in December 2010. The governor said he wants to address the looming power shortage in Ileco which covers the 5th district.

 

Uy also denied the alleged bribe saying he did not bring with him any female employee to the April 17 meeting at Tupas’ house.

 

Uy said their proposal to put up a 5-megawatt diesel-fired power plant and a 5-MW biomass power plant will solve the power crisis in Ileco 3 and provide livelihood to consumers.

 

The Artech official said his company will also construct a P30-million power substation to connect Ileco 3 to his plants.

 

Uy said his company does not engage in bribery even as he suspects that business and politics could be behind the issue.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

 

ILOILO is known for the Dinagyang festival, the delicious batchoy and crunchy biscocho.

 

And it would be better if tourists start the day with a truly Ilonggo breakfast to enjoy the sights, smell and taste of the place.

 

The Iloilo City Tourism and Development Office (CTDO) recently launched the search for the authentic Ilonggo breakfast or “pamahaw” which will become a regular fare in restaurants, hotels and other food outlets. 

 

The idea struck Benito Jimena, CTDO chief, when he was browsing through a hotel menu.

 

“I saw the usual offerings – American breakfast, continental breakfast and the standard Filipino almusal. So I though of coming up with an Ilonggo breakfast that will help create a truly Ilonggo culture and lifestyle. We must show to our visitors that they are indeed in Iloilo,” Jimena said.

 

Jimena said he met with representatives from the academe and hotel and restaurant operators to discuss the possibility of a competition on the typical Ilonggo breakfast.

 

Using a thesis by Dr. Lilia Teves of the University of San Agustin on Ilonggo food ingredients, the group came up with the criteria of the contest, particular the culinary pattern and menu components.  

 

“Initially, the academe suggested the basic culinary pattern consisting of fruits, hot beverage main dish and dessert. Members of Iloilo Hotels Restaurants Resorts Association (IHRRA) also have their innovations and twists. After a series of meetings, we were able to harmonize the parameters,” Jimena said.

 

Jimena added: “To make it distinctly Ilonggo, it must be an original concoction or mix of food making use of locally grown raw materials and locally processed foodstuff. It must be affordable and low-priced and easy to cook – a short-order menu.  It must be healthy and nutritious.”

 

The contest has two categories – student and professional. Five finalists from each category will be announced July 11, 2009 while the public cooking competition is on July 25, 2009, 2pm, at Robinsons Place mall.

 

IHRRA president Angela Abenir said hotels and restaurants must promote and offer Ilonggo breakfast aside from the usual batchoy.

 

IHRRA spokesperson Robert Ferrer said their group will promote the winning pamahaw in their establishments’ menus.

 

Ferrer, general manager of Sarabia Manor Hotel and Convention Center, said the Ilonggo breakfast will be offered side by side with the American and Filipino bill of fare. 

 

Jimena said operators of “home stay”, or private homes offering accommodations to transients in areas with no hotels, can also offer pamahaw to their visitors.

 

“We will also include Guimaras Island in the promotion of Ilonggo breakfast to help their home stay accommodations take off. Ordinary households can also adopt the Ilonggo breakfast recipe,” he added.

 

Jimena said hotels and restaurants should observe the standard pamahaw menu “although it will eventually evolve depending on the demands and requirements of the market.”

 

“Culture and tourism is not just about festivals and destinations. The gastronomic feature must also be given attention so that visitors will keep coming back for more,” Jimena said.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

 

THE Iloilo City Police Office (ICPO) will begin the pre-charge investigation on a police officer who brought a detainee to a drinking spree last week.

 

S/Supt. Melvin Mongcal, ICPO director, said the pre-charge investigation will determine if PO1 Rodel Misada of Jaro police station will be subjected to summary dismissal proceedings.

 

Misada is under investigation for giving liquor to Jaro PNP detainees and bringing another detainee to Andok’s Restaurant outside the station to drink beer last May 12.

 

Misada was later found dead drunk in one of the restaurant’s tables with the detainee, who is facing a child abuse case, watching over him.

 

Misada’s superior officer, Insp. Julie Gabinera, has submitted a report on the incident which will become the basis of the pre-charge investigation.

 

If the pre-charge investigator finds probable cause, Misada could be charged with grave misconduct before the summary hearing officer of Police Regional Office (PRO-6).

 

Mongcal said they will also get Misada’s explanation on the incident during the pre-charge investigation.

 

Misada was investigated for allegedly mauling a police trainee more than a month ago.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

 

THERE is no assurance that the biomass plant being proposed by Applied Research Technologies Phils., Inc. (Artech) can supply cheap and stable electricity to the consumers of Iloilo Electric Cooperative (Ileco) 3.

 

This is the assessment of Engr. Edgar Mana-ay, who has 30 years of experience in oil, power generation and mining industries, in an interview with The Daily Guardian on Air over Aksyon Radyo.

 

Citing previous media interviews of Artech president Reynaldo Uy, Mana-ay said the primary purpose of the power firm is to plant sweet sorghum which will be processed into alcohol and ethanol.

 

The Biofuels Law mandates that diesel and gasoline should be mixed with ethanol to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and help arrest climate change.

 

Mana-ay said the waste product from ethanol processing called silage, which is equivalent to the bagasse in sugar mills, will be used as feedstock for Artech’s 5-megawatt power plant.

 

“The biomass plant is actually a steam power plant. In the Artech system, sweet sorghum will be processed into ethanol. The silage from the sorghum will be burned to boil water in the caldera to produce steam. The steam will run the turbine which in turn produces electricity,” Mana-ay said.

 

But Mana-ay fears that Artech will use Ileco 3 as “guinea pig” because the sorghum-based biomass plant technology is not reliable and feasible.

 

“Nowhere in the world can we see of a plant similar to what Artech is proposing is used as baseload power plant. The technology of converting sorghum into alcohol and electricity is still in the research and pilot stage,” Mana-ay said.

 

Mana-ay said 1.5 kilograms of sorghum silage must be burned to produce one kilowatt of electricity.

 

“A 4MW power plant will need about 216 tons of silage everyday to operate. Considering that sorghum matures in 100 days, it is estimated that 5,000 hectares of land is required to support a 4MW power plant. Is that plantation achievable and possible and how sure are we that such an area can provide a year round steady supply of fuel to the power plant?” he added.

 

Mana-ay is also concerned with the environmental effects of the biomass plant because sorghum silages has 40 percent ash content.

 

“This means that 80 tons of ash from the plant must be disposed daily. Unlike in coal ash which is a very good material for hollow blocks, agricultural ash has no use expect to sour up the soil,” Mana-ay said.

 

Mana-ay said Artech should explain to the public the actual technology of its biomass plant so that Ileco 3 officials and consumers can study the advantages and disadvantages of the power supply agreement.

 

In an interview with Serbisyo Publiko hosted by Councilor Perla Zulueta yesterday, Uy said the sorghum plantation is a livelihood component of Artech’s 25-year power supply agreement (PSA) with Ileco 3.

 

Uy said the Ileco 3 board headed by former judge Mateo Baldoza had no objections to the PSA when he presented his proposal starting February 2009.

 

The Ileco 3-Artech deal is tainted with bribery after Baldoza claimed in an interview with Joel Tormon of Aksyon Radyo that Governor Niel Tupas Sr. gave him an envelope containing P75,000 cash while saying “Buligan ta lang sila (Let’s help them).”

 

The money was given during a meeting between the board and Artech officials at Tupas’ house in Jaro, Iloilo City April 17. Baldoza said the money might have something to do with Artech’s proposal.

 

Another P75,000 cash was given to Baldoza April 21, the day the board approved and signed the PSA, by a lady believed to be working for Artech.

 

Baldoza later modified his first statement saying a woman from Artech gave the money to him at Tupas’ house, not the governor himself.

 

Uy denied that his company gave money to Baldoza and other Ileco 3 board officials. He said his company does not practice bribery to corner deals.

 

Uy also said that other companies might be behind the issue against Artech’s deal with Ileco 3.

 

“I feel bad because my company was dragged in the fray,” he added.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

 

ILOILO Governor Niel Tupas Sr. indeed arranged the meeting between the Iloilo Electric Cooperative (Ileco) 3 board of directors and officials of an independent power producer (IPP) at his house in Jaro, Iloilo City last April 17.

 

In an interview in the weekly cable TV program Serbisyo Publiko hosted by Councilor Perla Zulueta Sunday, provincial administrator Manuel Mejorada said Tupas initiated the meeting between the Ileco 3 board and Applied Research Technologies Phils., Inc. (Artech) to address the looming power crisis in Iloilo.

 

“It is the habit of Governor Tupas to expedite matters when things go slow. He was worried that by 2010, Ileco 3 will have no more power supply because its transition power contract with the National Power Corp. will expire December 2010,” Mejorada said.

 

Engr. Reynaldo Uy, Artech president, said Ileco 3 director Asur Salcedo invited him to meet the board headed by former judge Mateo Baldoza at Tupas’ house in MV Hechanova, Jaro last April 17.

 

Uy said the meeting was set after Tupas learned that the board has yet to act on Artech’s 25-year power supply agreement after three months.

 

“Governor Tupas asked the board about our deal and president Baldoza said the offer was good. The governor then said that we must settle the matter because he will be leaving for his office,” Uy said.

 

Uy said the board told him that they will meet April 21 to decide which IPP to choose.

 

The Artech official denied that money changed hands during the meeting at Tupas’ house and the April 21 meeting at Fine Rock Hotel in Iloilo City.

 

Uy’s denial contradicts the claims of Baldoza that he received money from Artech during the two meetings.

 

Baldoza initially implicated Tupas as the one who handed him the money. But he later modified that statement saying it was a female Artech employee who gave him an envelope containing P75,000 cash.

 

Baldoza said he wanted more time to study Artech’s offer because the comparative study of their Technical Support Department showed that the IPP’s generation rate of P8.per kilowatt-hour 56 is expensive compared to other power producers.

 

But Uy said their rates are lower compared to other IPPs that made offers to the Panay-Guimaras power consortium – P6.64 per kWh for the diesel plant and P5.90 per kWh for the biomass plant.

 

Artech will supply power to Ileco 3 from a diesel-fired power plant starting December 2010. Between 2010 and 2013, the firm will construct a 5-megawatt biomass plant which will operate as baseload power plant.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

 

 

Banias said he will also file next week a complaint with the National Electrification Administration (NEA) asking the agency to investigate the Ileco 3 board and the 25-year power supply agreement with Applied Research Technologies Phils., Inc. (Artech).

 

He will also furnish the Energy Regulatory Commission and the Department of Energy copies of his letter complaint.

 

Banias said he is still awaiting the resolutions from the Sangguniang Bayan of seven towns under the Ileco 3 franchise.

 

“These resolutions opposing the deal with Artech and calling for the investigation on the Ileco 3 board will be attached to the letter that will be sent to NEA,” he added.

 

Aside from the resolutions, Banias said he will also attach the comparative study of Ileco 3’s Technical Services Department showing that Artech’s generation charge of P8.56 per kilowatt-hour is higher than the rates of other independent power producers (IPP).

 

Banias said he will tell President Gloria Arroyo about the bribery issue and power supply deal with Artech “to protect the interest of consumers which includes me.”

 

While he expected his detractors to link his actions to DMCI which is planning to put up a coal-fired power plant in his town Concepcion, Banias said he is concerned with the welfare of Ileco 3 consumers.

 

“The power supply agreement with Artech is over contracted. The present requirement of Ileco 3 is 4.8 to 5 million kilowatts while the contract says that Artech will produce 6 million kW. There is an excess capacity of some 1 million kW. Under the ‘take and pay’ clause of the contract, Ileco 3 consumers will pay for the electricity produced by Artech whether we consume it or not. We will shoulder millions of pesos per month if the contract pushes through,” Banias said.

 

But Artech president Reynaldo Uy said they will sell electricity to Ileco 3 at P6.50 per kWh using a diesel-fired power plant. But when the proposed biomass plant operates, the rate could go down to P5.90 per kWh.

 

The Ileco 3 management had sent a letter to NEA asking the agency to suspend and investigate board members who were present in the April 17 meeting at Governor Niel Tupas’ house in Jaro, Iloilo City where the alleged bribery happened.

 

In his first interview with Joel Tormon of Aksyon Radyo, Ileco 3 board president Mateo Baldoza said Tupas personally gave him an envelope containing P75,000 during the meeting with Artech president Uy and president for marketing and business development Domingo Beltran.

 

Baldoza said Tupas asked him to “help them” while handing the envelope. Another envelope laden with P75,000 was given the Baldoza during the April 21 meeting in Iloilo City where the board approved and signed the deal with Artech.

 

But in another interview, Baldoza changed his statement saying a female employee of Artech, not Tupas, gave the money to him.

 

Tupas also denied bribing Baldoza in his house saying he only facilitated the meeting to help ease the power crisis in northern Iloilo.

Ileco 3 management team urges NEA to suspend ‘bribed’ directors

 

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

 

SAYING they were ashamed with the issues hounding Iloilo Electric Cooperative (Ileco) 3, the management team asked the National Electrification Administration (NEA) to preventively suspend and probe the cooperative’s board of directors (BoD).

 

In a letter to NEA Administrator Edita Bueno dated May 11, 2009, the management team headed by Dory Jane Canones, Finance Services Department manager, asked the agency to investigate the alleged bribery of the BoD for the approval of the 25-year power supply deal with an independent power producer.

 

The alleged bribery happened twice, according to board president and former judge Mateo Baldoza – April 17 at the house of Governor Niel Tupas Sr. and April 21 during their special board meeting in Iloilo City.

 

Baldoza claimed receiving a total of P150,000 although he later retracted his first statement that Tupas gave him P75,000 at the latter’s house in Jaro, Iloilo City when they met with officials of Applied Research Technologies Phils., Inc. (Artech).

 

Presidential Assistant for Western Visayas and Ileco 3 director Rene Arandilla confirmed Baldoza’s first statement that the retired judge received money from Tupas and Artech.

 

Pending the investigation of the Ileco 3 board, the management team requested NEA to send a project supervisor and preventively suspend members of the board who were present in Tupas’ house to accept the alleged bribe.

 

Aside from Baldoza, also present in the meeting at the Tupas mansion in Jaro, Iloilo City were BoD vice president Emmanuel Pacardo, secretary Joy Fuentes, treasurer Asur Salcedo and Achilles Pama.

 

Those who did not show up were Arandilla and Vincent Frances Espinosa.

 

The management team said they were humiliated by the scandal that wracked the cooperative and sparked the ire of the consumers over the deal with Artech.

 

They said they were surprised with the indignation displayed by Ileco 3 consumers during a rally at the cooperative’s office in Sara, Iloilo last May 9.

 

“While our employees staged a black protest by wearing black shirts and black band during the coop’s annual general assembly meeting, we were not prepared for the indignation that the consumers showed during that day. We were never so ashamed in our life,” the letter said.

 

  1. The management team also hit the majority of the Ileco 3 board for their “vindictiveness, encroachment on otherwise purely management prerogatives and high-handed ways in dealing with coop employees who are perceived to be against them.”   

 

They also opposed the board’s designation of Aida Lamigo as permanent OIC because of her questionable competence and involvement in the missing P1million in Ileco 3 funds.

 

“We will do our share in bringing justice to those that betrayed our member-consumers. We will bring to your attention the pronouncements and the calls of alls sectors in our communities. We will try to rebuild the trust and confidence of everyone that took years to earn. Please help us find justice for Ileco 3,” the management team said.

 

Those who signed the letter were Ana Maria Bagsit, OIC assistant general manager; Engr. Antonio Lazarraga, Technical Services Department manager; Apolojandro Sicad, Sara Area Office manager; Lanie Velasco, Natividad Area Office OIC; Consorcia Peñaranda, Institutional Services Department manager; Cirilo Jerry Pacardo, Panian (Balasan) Area office OIC; and Engr. Raim Villarias, Ileco 3 Multipurpose Cooperative president.

 

Information from NEA said the board of administrators is deliberating on the management team’s letter before sending a three-man fact finding team to Iloilo.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

 

THE management of Global Business Power Corp. (GBPC) told its detractors not to drag the firm in the Iloilo Electric Cooperative (Ileco) 3 bribery mess.

 

Engr. Adrian Moncada, GBPC vice president for commercial operations, said the company has nothing to do with the Artech mess. He was reacting to news items that Engr. Gil Altamira, GBPC commercial business manager, had something to do with the privilege speech of Board Member Rett Rojas calling for an investigation on the Ileco 3 issue.

 

Moncada said Rojas and Altamira are already friends even before the latter worked for GBPC.

 

He said Altamira is familiar with the operations of Ileco 3 and the bidding conducted by the Panay-Guimaras power consortium reason why Rojas asked inputs from him.

 

Moncada also disputed the claims of Iloilo provincial administrator Manuel Mejorada that GBPC and DMCI offered P7.36 per kilowatt hour to the Panay-Guimaras power consortium.

 

Mejorada claimed that GBPC-DMCI’s price was higher than the P6.64 per kilowatt hour proposed by Applied Research Technologies of the Philippines (Artech), Inc.

 

But Moncada said their offer to the consortium was P4.60 per kWh at 75% load factor. In the electricity industry, load factor is a measure of the output of a power plant compared to the maximum output it could produce.

 

Moncada said they did not offer P7.36 per kWh to the consortium.

 

“That figure of P7.36 per kWh is the assumption of the consortium’s technical consultant, not ours. The consultant assumed that we will use Newcastle bituminous coal in producing electricity. But we will use Semirara sub-bituminous coal which is cheaper. Our offer has always been P4.60 per kWh at 75% load factor which is the ideal industry standard,” Moncada added.

 

Moncada said that when the consortium leveled the load factor at 100%, similar to the offers of renewable energy firms, “our price will even go down to P3.98 per kWh.”

 

“Computing the price of electricity is not simple arithmetic. There are factors that must be considered before we can come up with the numbers. I suggest they check their facts,” Moncada said.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

 

A MEMBER of Iloilo Electric Cooperative (Ileco-3) board of directors (BoD) confirmed the much-publicized bribery in the house of Governor Niel Tupas Sr. last April 17, 2009.

 

In his sworn affidavit dated May 13, 2009, Ileco 3 director Rene Arandilla said that on April 17, BoD president Mateo Baldoza told him that the board was summoned to a meeting with officials of Applied Research Technologies Phils., Inc. (Artech) in Tupas’ house at Brgy. MV Hechanova, Jaro, Iloilo City

 

“I called our board president through my cellphone and he confirmed the information and that he was about to go to the house of Governor Tupas in Iloilo City and I categorically told him that I am not going to the house of Governor Tupas for that meeting,” said Arandilla who represents the towns of Anilao and Banate to the Ileco 3 board.

 

After the meeting, Arandilla said Baldoza, a former court judge, told him that Tupas personally gave him P75,000 cash during the meeting.

 

Baldoza confirmed receiving money from Tupas in an interview with Joel Tormon of Aksyon Radyo-Iloilo last May 5.

 

The former judge said he received another envelope containing P75,000 from a female employee of Artech during their board meeting April 21, 2009 at Fine Rock Hotel in Iloilo City. The power supply deal with Artech was approved and inked on the same day.

 

Arandilla said that after the April 21 meeting, Baldoza showed him an envelope while saying “There is an ‘additional’.”

 

“I inquired what it was and he told me that it must be money given by a lady wearing black and out of curiosity and with his consent, I counted the money inside the envelope and determined to be containing P75,000 allegedly coming from Artech,” Arandilla said.

 

Arandilla said Baldoza told him to get P10,000 because he will give the rest of the money to the Church but the former refused. “Finally, he told me that only myself and his wife knew about this (money).”

 

The money is believed to be linked to the 25-year power supply agreement between Artech and Ileco 3. 

 

Arandilla’s statement corroborates the claim of Dr. Raul Banias, presidential assistant for Western Visayas, that Baldoza told him about the money Tupas gave the board president.

 

Banias said that even before the April 17 meeting, Baldoza confided to him that Tupas was pressuring the board to approve and sign the deal with Artech.

 

Banias said Baldoza volunteered the same information to other persons such as former board member Victorino “Dagul” Salcedo II and former Ileco 3 general manager Gil Altamira.

 

“These people confirmed that Judge Baldoza told them about the alleged bribe and pressures,” Banias said.

 

Baldoza, however, retracted his statement in another interview saying a lady from Artech and not Tupas gave the money to him at Tupas’ house.

 

Ileco 3 legal officer Edison Belloga had denied the alleged bribe in the deal with Artech.

 

Arandilla and Baldoza resisted the power supply agreement because Artech’s generation charge is the most expensive compared to other independent power producers (IPPs) that joined the bidding called by the Panay-Guimaras power consortium.

 

It was learned that Arandilla is a retired public school principal.

 

WHAT BRIBE?

 

In an interview with Febe Morales of Aksyon Radyo, Artech president Reynaldo Uy denied greasing the Ileco 3 board.

 

Uy said he met the Ileco 3 board at Tupas’ house last April 17 upon the invitation of director Asur Salcedo.

 

Uy said he has been presenting his company’s proposal to the Ileco 3 board since January 2009. During those presentations, the management team was also present and queried the executive about the deal.

 

Artech proposed to first construct a 6-megawatt diesel-fired power plant within 2010.

 

Once the diesel plant is completed, Artech will put up a 20MW biomass power plant which will be completed in 2010. The IPP will use sorghum as feedstock of the biomass plant.

 

Uy said he sensed that the management team was biased to other IPPs that will invest in Iloilo.

 

The Artech president said he laced the deal with a provision to build and turnover to Ileco 3 a P40-million power substation 25 years after the implementation of the supply agreement.

By Tara Yap

 

A MUNICIPAL councilor believes that the board of directors (BOD) of Iloilo Electric Cooperative (Ileco) are planning something drastic for the cooperative.

 

Ajuy municipal councilor Pepe Baterna disclosed that Ileco 3 BOD is eyeing for the conversion of Ileco 3 from an electric cooperative (EC) under the National Electrification Administration (NEA) to the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA).

 

Baterna said that consumers and stakeholders have to be wary of this proposal.

 

Presently, Ileco 3 is subject to NEA’s rules and regulations, especially in the appointment of a general manager and its decisions have to undergo proper review by NEA.

 

However, Baterna said that under CDA, member-owners are empowered through the BOD to hire and remove officers without any review from regulating authorities on new decisions and policies set by the BOD.

 

“This means the member-owners are very powerful.  They can hire or terminate employees without any hassle,” Baterna told The Daily Guardian.

 

Baterna warned that member-owners can manipulate as they are duly given more power than ever.

 

Baterna, on the other hand, did not dismiss the advantages of CDA registration.

 

Under NEA, Ileco 3 is presently a non-profit and non-stock organization.  But if it undergoes conversion, member-consumers who have paid a minimal fee and contributed to the share of the capital are duly recognized owners of Ileco 3.

 

Conversion to CDA will also pave way to tax exemptions and privileges for Ileco 3.

 

Other advantages of CDA conversion include member-owners having wider participation in decision making, sourcing of additional capital and equipment by Ileco 3 itself and without the consent of NEA, management is accountable to member-consumers and not only answerable to NEA, and provides patronage refund and interest on share capital granting there is net surplus.

 

“CDA conversion is very promising,” Baterna added.

 

Meanwhile, Baterna is calling all Ileco 3 consumers in Fifth District to unite against the alleged anomalous deal Ileco 3 entered with Applied Research Technologies Philippines Inc. (Artech).

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

 

NOEL Cainglet of Brgy. Umambong, Leon, Iloilo sent his daughter Ma. Jesiel, 15, to an errand late Tuesday evening.

 

Noel had no inkling that it would be the last time that he will see his daughter alive.

 

The lifeless Ma. Jesiel was later found half naked from her waist down near the dumpsite at Brgy. Pandan, Leon past 7pm the other night.

 

Worse, the victim’s underwear was stuffed in her mouth while her head was smashed with a piece of rock or wood.

 

Ma. Jesiel was declared dead at the Aleosan District Hospital.

 

Noel said he was wondering why Ma. Jesiel did not come home around 7pm. They scoured the dirt road leading to their home until they found the victim near the dumpsite.

 

Senior Insp. Alex Velez, Leon PNP chief, said their investigation pointed to a certain John Mark “Tonton” Cadornigara, 20 of Brgy. Beri Sur, Leon as the suspect.

 

The investigators’ hunch was backed by the recovery of a ball cap allegedly worn by Cadornigara.

 

Velez said witnesses saw the suspect lugging a homemade 12-gauge shotgun before Ma. Jesiel was found dead.

 

The police mounted a manhunt operation against Cadornigara who went missing Wednesday morning.

 

At around 3pm Wednesday, the Leon police received a call from PO3 Nathaniel Alejandrino of Tigbauan PNP informing them that he has custody of Cadornigara.

 

Alejandrino said he received a tip that Cadornigara was spotted in the Tigbauan public market.

 

It was later learned that Cadornigara was arrested for theft in Tigbauan but he was not detained after the complainant withdrew the charges.

 

Cadornigara said he brought the suspect to their station as he has knowledge about the incident in Leon.

 

Cadornigara is now detained at the Leon police station.

 

According to Leon police records, the suspect has pending cases for theft, robbery and attempted rape of his aunt.

 

The police said Cadornigara was also accused of sodomizing a cow.

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