THE chances of refiling the bill expanding Davao Light and Power Corp.’s (Davao Light) franchise area to Davao del Norte are uncertain, according to an advocacy group lobbying for the bill.

Co-convenor of Davao Consumer Movement Ryan Amper said on Monday, January 30 that they could only wait and monitor who would refile for Davao Light’s franchise expansion at the Senate and House of Representatives.

As of now, Amper said no lawmaker had expressed interest yet in refiling the bill thus as a response, the advocacy group intensified its on-the-ground campaign to spread awareness for their cause.

“Wala pa mi balita kung unsa mahitabo sa bill karon (We have no news yet regarding the bill). Sa pagkakaron wala gyod mi mahimo sa fate or kapalaran sa bill (For now, there isn’t anything we can do to change the direction of the bill),” Amper said.

In the meantime, he said Davao Consumer Movement and other concerned groups are focusing their campaign on different communities in Davao del Norte and Davao de Oro, including affected sectors such as business and tourism establishments.

House Bill No. 10554, which would expand the coverage area of DLPC to Tagum City, Island Garden City of Samal, and the municipalities of Talaingod, Asuncion, Kapalong, San Isidro, and New Corella in Davao del Norte, was vetoed by President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. last July.

Currently, the said areas are serviced by the North Davao Electric Cooperative (Nordeco) wherein Amper said clients are charged expensive electricity bills and experience recurring, problematic power interruptions that hamper their daily activities.

Marcos’ basis for vetoing the bill is that Nordeco’s franchise is still in effect and has yet to expire in 2028 and 2033. However, Amper said the franchise should be revoked solely for Nordeco’s inefficiency and negligence.

“Para sa amo, ang franchise, privilege man na (For us, a franchise is a privilege). Kung dili niya ma-serve ang ilahang giingon na mag provide og sufficient, efficient, og barato na kuryente, ngano dili man mubalhin nga naa man lain option? (If they can’t provide sufficient and affordable power, why shouldn’t we switch since there is a better option?)” Amper said.

He added, “Panawagan namo kay President Marcos na unta ma-consider niya ug mahatagan niya og decisive na pagtagad. Masulbad niya decisively ang problema namo sa Davao del Norte and Davao de Oro sa among power provider (We hope President Marcos considers and gives a decisive response to resolve our power crisis in Davao del Norte and Davao de Oro).”

Amper said Nordeco charges a rate of around P17 per kilowatt hour, which is more expensive compared to Davao Light’s current rate of around P12 per kilowatt hour despite sharing the same energy suppliers. ICM