I’ve been so busy the past week that I hardly had time to update my blogs although I was able to spare a bit of time to take a peek on some of the blogs in my blogroll on some nights that I was home.
Anyway, I read in the March 15, 2007 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer the news about the National Power Corporation’s cutting off supply to the entire province of Albay because of the Albay Electric Cooperative’s unpaid debt in the amount of a whopping P981.3 million.
At first, my mind tried to brush it off but my heart begged me to say my piece after I realized that Aleco is so much in the red and could accumulate a debt that will reach a billion pesos in the next few years or so which will have a very negative effect to the lives of the people of Albay.
It used to be a profitable cooperative run by honest and hardworking people in Albay where the welfare of its constituents were paramount and service excellence its battle cry.
In fact, my Grandfather, Jose C. Templado used to be its Secretary of the Board and then President during its pioneering days in the early 70s to its heydays in the 80s while at the same time being Vice- President of the Association of Bicol Cooperatives (ABECO) which he served with unquestioned integrity and genuine public service.
He saw the writings on the wall early when crooked politicians entered the cooperative's domain, invaded its board room and started to twist the cooperative’s policies and decisions to suit their needs and interests which I think influenced his decision not to seek re- election and retired quietly when his final term ended.
Afterwards, the cooperative’s fate and fortune all went downhill as more competent and honest people left Aleco disillusioned and replaced with blood- suckers who bled the cooperative’s coffer dry and drive the company into financial ruins which it cannot recover.
At one time, Aleco was divided into 3 independent services that served the 3 Congressional Districts of Albay with--
Aleco 1: Tiwi, Malinao, Tabaco, Malilipot, Bacacay and Sto. Domingo.
Aleco 2: Legaspi City, Daraga, Camalig, Rapu- Rapo, and Manito.
Aleco 3: Guinobatan, Oas, Libon, Ligao, Polangui, Jovellar and Pio Duran.
Each one was independent from each other policy and budget -wise. Each had its own members- elected Board of Directors and run by autonomous management team.
This was done to save the consumers of the other districts from the inconvenience of their power and electricity being cut - off because of one particular district’s failure to deliver its payment to Napocor.
Actually this was done to save the “less- progressive” districts, which were the First and Third Districts, from the “urban” Second District, where big business reigns supreme and huge debt to the cooperative is tops.
But the experiment did not last long due to pressures from “unseen hands” and so- called concerned consumers that were supported by lobbyists to the “higher ups” in the national government.
In the course of its history, you can trace Aleco’s woes to its delinquent consumers; not the common Albayano though but mostly from the big businesses that operate in Legaspi City owned by prominent people of Albay with ties to powerful politicians and other powers-that- be in the province as well as to the plethora of inept managers that the National Electrification Administration installed to “mis”- manage the company.
The moral of the story here is that the dirty hands of politics corrupt the people they touch and destroy everything in their path.
If we can only rid our country of these crooked politicians and their minions, maybe we can really, really say that the Philippines can be a really, really nice place to live in.
If that time comes, then I can say that there is really a light at the end of the tunnel. Otherwise, we will continue to be stuck in the dark age of our own making.