Government must push for intervention plan to prevent Zamboanga power crisis – Analyst

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The government’s National Electrification Administration (NEA) must stand its ground and insist on the bidding guideline it set for the rehabilitation plan of the Zamboanga Electric Cooperative (Zamcelco), to prevent a full blown energy crisis in Zamboanga.

Political analyst Alex Magno said the NEA must not allow to be pushed around by the Zamcelco board, especially since NEA made a commitment to the local officials — as well as the residents — of Zamboanga that it is taking over the debt-ridden power distribution cooperative.

It will be recalled that last August 20, the NEA agreed to a partial takeover of Zamcelco. This after the citizens of Zamboanga City pushed their mayor and their congressman to intervene do something about the worsening brownouts in the city, due to Zamcelco’s mismanagement.

On top of NEA’s priority is the bidding for proposed investment management contract (IMC) for Zamcelco.

Last August 24, the Special Bids and Awards Committee for the IMC issued Bid Bulletin No. 6 which, among others, allowed the committee to use at least ten days to evaluate the bid documents it received.

On August 29, the SBAC also handed down Bid Bulletin No. 7, which reiterated an August 24, 2018 issuance by NEA Administrator Edgardo Masongsong, which prohibits electric cooperatives (ECs) from “being a party to Private Sector Participation” with other ECs.

The same day that the Bid Bulletin No. 7 was issued, the Zamcelco Board conducted an emergency meeting. It was then that its directors decided to not only revoke said bid bulletin, it also abolished the SBAC altogether.

Zamcelco president Omar Sahi decided to open bids from only two bidders last August 30. The Zamcelco board issued a resolution revoking the special bids and awards committee and took over the role.

Last August 30, Sahi declared a winning bid. Magno said the process by which the contract was awarded was “hasty and haphazard.”

He also said that the winning bidder happens to be partnered with another electric cooperative. “This is in total defiance of the guidelines issued by the NEA,” Marno wrote in his Philippine Star column.

“The NEA could either stand by its memo or yield to the very characters that had run Zamcelco to the ground. The greater possibility is that the people of Zamboanga City will lose power very soon – in both senses,” Magno said.

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