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Information-Decision Equation


To recapitulate with emphasis, many of the most pressing problems we are facing at present could be generally or partially attributed to lack or no planning, consultation, coordination, cooperation, expertise and knowledge sharing, or proper dissemination of essential information among the various agencies, persons, involved, affected, concerned, and responsible.

Let’s take the case of the controversy-stricken ZAMCELCO management’s decision to avail of the Department of Energy (DOE) loan fund to purchase eight (8) Gensets of two (2) megawatts each to mitigate our electric power shortage. We assume that such decision was collectively arrived at with no other interest, motive, or consideration but to honestly and promptly address our power supply shortage to avoid hurting or disrupting our industrial and commercial operations and the regular power needs of the residence-based consumers of Zamboanga City.

If this was purely the noble intention, ZAMCELCO’s management rightfully deserves due credit and appreciation. What might have triggered the raging controversy over the co-op top officials’ option to avail of the DOE loan fund for the purchase of the needed modular gensets, was the lack of knowledge and needed information about the DOE’s Loan Program and the terms, conditions, and processes stipulated for its availment.

As stipulated in Executive Order # 137 (s.20013), the full responsibility for the clear explanation and dissemination of the essential information to all concerned and parties interested about the loans available for electric cooperatives’ acquisition of modular gensets and the processes to be conducted, falls institutionally and squarely on the Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Electrification Administration (NEA). The lack of cooperation, coordination, consultation and information sharing among the different agencies responsible for the proper, smooth, and effective implementation of the DOE Loan Program for the purchase of the Modular Gensets, could likely be the principal cause of this raging controversy in Zamboanga City which has already unjustly hurt the sensibilities of some high level personalities suspected of committing irregularities.

Perhaps the following 10-point information guide which I synthesized and summarized for the acquisition of modular gensets, could help in the final resolution of the controversy and for the proper conduct of the re- bidding process: (Source-article written by Allen V. Estabillo. Entitled, “Loans Available for Co-ops Acquisition of Modular Gensets,” Mindanews, March 29, 20013.

1. The Department of Energy (DOE) provides the funds to the National Electrification Administration (NEA) which will then be offered to the electric cooperatives by way of soft loans.
2. Under the scheme, the electric cooperatives may avail of the loan but must only be utilized to purchase fuel-fired modular generator sets.
3. The loan will be based on the need and capacity of the generator units that will be acquired by the electric cooperatives.
4. The grace period for the repayment of the loan is two (2) years and the barrower will be made to pay for the interest and the principal.
5. The borrower will have the option to waive the loan repayments by returning the generator units to NEA after two (2) years.
6. The projected monthly interest payment for the loan will reach around P150,000.00 per megawatt (MW) of the acquired generator sets.
7. Based on DOE estimates, the consumers will have to pay an additional P3.00 per kilowatt hour for eight (8) hours of average daily use of the generator sets.
8. Aside from the NEA loan, the electric cooperatives have the option to directly deal with the suppliers through direct purchase or a lease agreement.
9. The Loan scheme is just an additional option for the crisis-hit electric cooperatives in Mindanao.
10. It will be the choice of the electric cooperatives whether to avail of the loan or not.

There are two vital pieces of information that might have been either unintentionally or deliberately withheld or taken to be of no consequential importance for which reason they were not properly, painstakingly, and fully disseminated to the electric consumers and the management officials of ZAMCELCO. These are (l. that the DOE loan fund is only exclusively for the purchase of the needed fuel-fired generating units, and (2. that based on the DOE estimates, the consumers will have to pay an additional P3.00 per kilowatt hour for eight (8) hours of average daily use of the generator units. It is obvious that because of the absence or lack of the right information, the Bids and Awards Committee of ZAMCELCO, presumably in the spirit of good faith, included the cost of interconnections instead of only the cost of the generator units causing the unintended resultant defect in the bidding process and the delay in the purchase of the much-needed power generating units.

We hope that the above-enumerated information guidelines for the availment of the DOE Loan fund for the purchase of the Modular Gensets, would serve some educative value to all concerned, involved, and responsible so that the process would be fast tracked and properly facilitated with full transparency and strictly in compliance with the terms and conditions prescribed by law.

By Clem M. Bascar

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