EMPLOYEES of Central Negros Electric Cooperative (Ceneco) held a Black Friday protest against all threats besetting the electric cooperatives, including privatization.
Malou Paroco, media relations officer of Ceneco, said the Black Friday protest will be held every Friday until further advice from the Philippine Rural Electric Cooperatives Association Inc.
The activity will be held simultaneously every Friday with all electric cooperatives nationwide, she said.
The employees wearing black demanded, "No to take over; electric coops independence; We will not be silenced; We stand United for all electric coops in Negro Island."
Paroco said Ceneco electric cooperatives are threatened by franchise take over like in the case of the Benguet Electric Cooperative.
She also said although Ceneco's franchise expiration is still in 2030, Gamboa Hermanos Farmworkers Multipurpose Cooperative (GHFMPC) has already signified its interest to take over for privatization. She added Ceneco also intends to continue or renew its franchise.
She said Ceneco, like other electric cooperatives that are owned by consumer members, has been in existence for decades and privatization would mean an increase in power rates.
House Bill 8827 is an “Act granting Gamboa Hermanos Farmworkers Multipurpose Cooperative (GHFMPC) a franchise to construct, install, establish, operate, own, manage and maintain distribution systems for the conveyance of electric power to the end-users in the Island of Negros.” It was authored by Marinduque Representative Lord Allan Jay Velasco, who is now the speaker of the House of Representatives.
Based on an explanatory note provided by the authors, the Bill seeks to provide dependable and efficient electric power distribution system for the Island of Negros by granting franchise to operate to GHFMC in the provinces of Negros Occidental and Oriental.
The Bill also seeks to require standards that the grantee must attain to secure an effective partnership between the government and the grantee, as well as maintain a high benchmark of the promised provided facility.