• Kim’s Dream
  • Orlando R. Ravanera

In a landmark decision in the case Philreca vs. Dept of Finance penned by Justice Mariano del Castillo, no less than the Supreme Court ruled that the 121 Electric Cooperatives in the country are only cooperatives in name and not genuine cooperatives. As categorically stated in their By-L Laws under Sec. 1, Art. 2, “the members are the joint owners of the electric cooperatives with their individual equity in its assets determined the basis of their patronage.”  That’s the reason why the members are called MCOs (member-consumer-owners). All these years, in the past 70 years, that is the greatest LIE perpetuated by the so-called Electric Cooperatives. Why is this so?

Everytime the MCOs will claim such right, they will just be told that they have only contributed P5 as membership fee. The truth is, in the unbundling of their monthly payment, it is shown that from the very beginning, each MCO has been paying two items as their patronage contributions which are: a) the total amortization cost (payment to loans) which is about P0.36/kwh and b) the provision for Reinvestment which is about P0.11/kiwh. This meqans a monthly capital contribution of about P94.54 based on the monthly concumption of about 200kWh per month or about P1,134.48 per year. After all these years (about 60 years as MCOs), each one has a total patronage capital contribution of about P68,000. How amazing! But I was notified that these so-called ECs which are not registered with the Cooperative Development Authority which by law is the only registering agency of all types of cooperatives have put the MCOs of their respective capital contributions. This is contrary to the provision of the By-Laws under 2(b) Article VII, “. . . within a reasonable time after the close of the fiscal year notify each patron of the amount of capital so credited to his/her account.”

`There are about 121 so-called ECs in the country and in region 10 alone, we have about eight, namely: Moresco 1 and 2, Fi8beco, Buseco, Camelco, Moelci 1 and 2 and Laneco.  All these years, these so-called ECs have not recognized the MCOs’ patronage capital contribution.  Such is the height of social injustice.  This is a contributing factor why the people are still in the quagmire of poverty.

If we may recall, in 1969, no less than Vice President Emmanuel Pelaez initiated rural electrification as electricity then was just confined to the cities, i.e., Meralco in Manila, Cepalco in Cagayan de Oro, Davao Light in Davao, etc. And when the Rural Electrification Law was  passed, a group of Senators and Congressmen went to the United States led by no less than Senators Diokno and Tanada and were convinced that rural electrification shall be owned by the consumers themselves as electricity is a means to life and must not be made as a means of so much rakings by the capitalists.  In the US, their ECs are members-owned, thus, benefitting hundreds of millions of MCO.  In fact, these ECs have programs for the health and scholarship for the children of the MCOs.

Coooperativizing the ECs had amazed the USAID that it granted the Philippines a grant of some $800 million dollars but was so dismayed upon knowing that the ECs are only cooperatives in name. The Philippine government then justified that it must have more funding to conduct the massive education of the millions of MCOs, the conduct of capacity-building especially on Pre-Membership Education Seminars. Thus, the World Banks has granted the Philippine Government then some $5 billion for for that proposed ECs’  cooperativiszation capacity building projects.

But it was then the period of Martial Law and the World Bank was so dismayed upon knowing that such fund was used for Anti-Insurgency. To make it worse, the President Marcos issued PD 1645 (named after M-16 and 45 Caliber) strengthening the National Electrication Administration (NEA). In that Presidential Decree, it provided for in Sec. 357 (named after Magnum 357) the powers vested to NEA that are all contrary to the time-honored and universally-accepted democratic principles.

The framers of the 1987 Constitution wanted to rectify such glaring social wrong and social injustice, so it is so stated under Sect. 15, Art. 12, “to promote the viability and growth of cooperatives as instruments of social justice and economic development.” And giving a strong message in creating an office, that is the Cooperative Development Authorithy as the “SOLE REGISTERING AGENCY OF ALL TYPES OF COOPERATIVES.”  A strong and categorical message especially directed to so-called ELECTRIC COOPERATIVES. However, instead of registering with the CDA, what the ECs did was to unleash formidable arsenal of lies, deceit, fear-mongering and cash-backed lobbying to ensure the continued proliferation ahd hold of private interest over electric cooperatives. The MCOs were enticed with bags of grocerty items and other goodies to sway their mindset. Lies and deceits were employed to cast doubt on the economic viability of electric cooperative if it would be registered with the CDA.