Lasureco has ‘no contract’ with NGCP

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Used long time ago, a motorboat called “Lansa” ran across Lake Lanao connecting all towns around the lake to transport people and products. The Lansa also depicts a deep sense of Maranao culture and values used in times of merry-making during festivals or sorrow during mourning of someone special demise. TNRS
Unless Lanao del Sur Electric Cooperative (Lasureco) is placed in a forgiven state, the Maranao community will soon live again in a blackout the way it was over half a century ago.
This is the observation of some concerned Maranaos who have had lived even before the electric cooperative was established in the Martial Era.

In fact,” they said, “we who host Lake Lanao has yet to experience a satisfactory lighting in our homes and establishments.”

Ironically, Lake Lanao is the source of power that provide light to over a two-thirds of Mindanao island.

They suggested that the Maranao as a whole community directly affected MUST unite to seek for government intervention in solving the problem.

“Instead of finger-pointing,” they stressed, “we must take it to ourselves the cudgel.”

The concerned Maranaos who preferred not to be identified said the portent of returning to primitive times of lamps and candles is due to the fact that Lasureco has not renewed its contract with power suppliers including the NGCP, DOE, ERB and/or NPC/PSALM to supply its needed electricity. And for them to supply power to Lasureco, they have to restructure the debt it has incurred with them amounting to several billions which seems near to impossible to settle.

Lasureco has seen different general managers, regular or acting or otherwise since it was organized. Military, academicians, traditional leaders, engineers, politicians — name a leader in any sector and you have it.

The changes were made purposely to give quality service in providing electricity to its consumers as Lasureco was deteriorating along the years passing by.

Every year, its indebtedness with its suppliers are soaring high. Its income is too far behind its expenditures. And the reason for this is poor collection. It was said consumers do not pay their bills religiously. “Many don’t even pay at all,” they said, “either they refuse to pay or their light not legally connected, what they call jumper, and get away with it.”

How can it survive?

Management deficiency which is the bottom-line of the problem is not solely the reason of the mess. Nobody can do it without the necessary government support.

Then Energy Secretary Petilla once said in Marawi City that Maongco is the best they have.

Engr. Ashary Maongco took over as Lasureco General manager and instituted reforms. Electricity gradually or may be slowly was seen improving.

But Maongco poses a “soar-eye” to local politicians and other leaders, and receives court suits left and right mostly from town mayors who based their reactions on their provincial patron, Governor Mamintal Adiong.

Then in 2015, Maongco was transferred to Maguindanao. And then Secretaries Mar Roxas, Petilla, and other President Aquino’s top guns in related matters came to Marawi and installed DOE then assistant secretary Matanog Mapandi aka Commander diego.

Mapandi stint as government official was not so much felt in the locality thus he was seen as the messiah of light, at least that was what the politicians implied.. The provincial and municipal government chief executives hailed his appointment to chair Task Force Lasureco aimed at rebuilding the losing power cooperative. TFL has had its co-chairs from the military and the police.

Sad to say, Mapandi who was so determined to reform Lasureco had failed due to cruel circumstances so he said. And he silently went at the back and came-in seemingly unnoticed his nephew, Solaiman Mutia, assistant general manager, who is now known acting general manager of Lasureco.

People closed to Mutia and keen observers believed the new manager is doing his best. “However,” as one puts it, “his best is not enough.” Power outages do not disappear and instead become rampant. He has not yet tried to do way on how to renew Laureco’s expired contract with power suppliers.

One consumer’s headache is how to get equipment such as transformer everytime it is needed. Lasureco cannot supply anymore and consumers have to buy from outside.

Given this situation, at least 47 applicants have rushed to Davao or Manila seeking for Lasureco’s top post.

But experts in NPC and NGCP said Lasureco badly needs full government intervention especially in its soaring debts.

The government should underwrite the obligations of Lasureco or place it in moratorium for decades before starting to pay it again.

At same time, the government appoint one in the like of, if not better than Maongco in terms of qualifications and experiences especially as a previous NPC executive, and, in addition, one who is acceptable to and respected by the host community.

The New Ranao Star

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