Monday, July 20, 2009

Consumer Forum in CASURECO 2 Area

Dear Fellow CASURECO 2 Consumers:

The member-consumers of the CAMARINES SUR 2 ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE (CASURECO 2) have been hearing and reading media reports about the brewing trouble in the electric cooperative. The management is having problems about positions and jurisdictions. The workers are having problems with their payrolls and compensation. Legal cases were filed by the affected parties in various courts, including the National Electrification Administration.

It will only be a matter of time before ordinary consumers like us are affected by this predicament of the electric cooperative. Along this line, the Metro Naga Consumers Group in partnership with other socio-civic organizations decided to pursue a bold initiative aimed at providing a venue for the articulation of consumers perceptions, sentiments, and recommendations. In this forum, we hope to:

1. Provide a venue for member-consumers to protect and assert their rights over the conduct and governance of the electric cooperative;

2. Provide a venue for CONSUMER-ORIENTED discussion of the issues and problems hounding CASURECO 2;

3. Provide a venue for generating consensus on consumer interventions and actions towards CASURECO 2.

Along this line, may we invite you and your organization to the CONSUMERS FORUM ON THE CASURECO 2 PREDICAMENT, 1:30PM, 31 JULY 2009, at the Naga City Youth Center, Civic Center Compound, Naga City. Please be advised that the forum is exclusively for ordinary consumers, thus excluding the participation of any CASURECO 2 officials or workers.

Thank you and we hope to see you and your group in the forum.

Metro Naga Consumer Group
Metro Naga Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster sa Pilipinas-Cam. Sur Chapter
Naga City Peoples Council
ADNU Social Involvement Council

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


I was shocked when I saw the news yesterday about the bombing in the perimeter of the cathedral in Cotabato City. It killed five persons and wounded at least fifty others! As I have pointed out in previous blog entries, this act is becoming frequent and a pattern is emerging: the explosions are designed to sow terror among the public.

The military is quick to blame the MILF and its so-called “special operations group”, which the latter denied. In this situation, who is telling the truth, whom should the people believe? This query seems to b e the logical consequence of the unfolding events.

But a dimension that must be explored with equal interest is the question of the impact and consequences of such events. A patterned, systematic bombing gives the impression that there is an organized group capable of launching a national terror campaign. Further, it polarizes the country: the suspected bombers as the bad guys who must be chased down and the military as the good guys who must get these terrorists all cost. At the same time, it legitimizes the use of police powers by the state to protect public interest.

In any other context, this will be a widely acceptable move. But in a situation wherein democratic institutions’ legitimacy are quite low, these events tickle peoples imagination! One is reminded of the circumstances used by former President Marcos in declaring martial law then. Is it a strategy being employed by adventurist armed groups today?

Whatever is the emerging agenda in these bombings, violence is to be condemned and abhorred. Not only because it diminish the person’s dignity but also because it always hurts beyond the physical aspect. Violence is a total violation of the person.
Thus, as we condemn these bombings killing innocent persons we will also readily condemn any group who intends to use these events to legitimize further violence!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

The CASURECO 2 Predicament

The Metro Naga Consumer Group endorsed and supported the entry of Mons. Nono Sanado into the cooperative’s Board of Directors as a final gesture for fostering transparency and accountability to consumers by the coop management and workers. His entry was not easy, made more difficult by the political and economic interests at play in the electric cooperative. Fortunately, Mons. Sanado got the support of the majority of the Directors.

UNFORTUNATELY, the road to transparency and accountability is not an easy one. Legal and administrative cases have to be filed and refuted. Internal and external hindrances have to be confronted. Even sectors within the cooperative eventually ended up fighting each other, further deepening the factions within the organization.

As the cooperative reels from these difficulties, the central question remains: WHAT IS THE ROLE OF THE CONSUMERS? Some would say they are mere product purchasers with no actual influence in the management, production, and service delivery. Others say the consumers are merely individuals/corporate entities buying electricity from the cooperative. Others would assert that the consumers are the actual owners of the cooperative, although technically marginalized by the present set up!

If you are an individual consumer like me, you end up wondering about concrete experiences with the cooperative:

a. pay membership fee
b. vote for Directors of the Cooperative
c. encouraged to attend the General Assembly as the highest policy making body of the cooperative

a. you do not get any benefit from THAT membership aside from actually being allowed to purchase electricity
b. NEA (a government agency) directly supervises the cooperatives, with the BoD as an inferior entity
c. the cooperative is a corporation wherein the personnel remits their social security payments like private corporations do

This dilemmas actually run smack into some issues which the electric cooperative must be able to resolve: (1)Is it a cooperative or a corporation? (2)Is it owned by the members, by the government, or private individuals/corporations? These questions must be confronted by the consumers, particularly because the electric cooperatives are instruments for the delivery of a basic service industry: power.

I am convinced that the policy environment among electric cooperatives is ripe for adventurism among various political and economic interests, leaving the organization vulnerable to exploitation and manipulation.

May we therefore ask the consumers to take a stand: Do we claim ownership of our electric cooperative? Do we simply leave it open to various players dipping their fingers into the power industry?

Feel free to leave your comments here!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Worst fear getting real!

I have always expressed apprehension over the tight schedule which COMELEC is working with as it tries to implement poll automation. Unfortunately, such apprehensions are slowly getting confirmed! A major hitch in the process is encountered by the “falling out” between the local and foreign partners of the consortium that won the bidding process.

I have also expressed the fear that if elections will not be credible, this will hasten the deterioration of our democratic institutions, encouraging adventurism among elements of the left and of the right. Indeed, we are now getting reports about coup d’etat and bombs planted and/or exploding in government offices.

This is not a very comforting scenario. I am convinced that vigilant citizens must start making the move, bonding towards a more decisive mobilization for the protection of our fragile democracy.

We will never bow down to authoritarianism. Nor will we be silenced by intimidation and coercion!