BAGUIO CITY – The City Council scheduled an executive session with the officials and employees of the City Legal Office on November 7, 2016 to be provided a briefing on the status of the legal cases relative to the operation of the Asin mini-hydropower plants and the status of the compromise agreement entered into by and between the local government and the affected landowners.
The executive session to be attended by all members of the City Council and the City Legal Office was decided after the Committee on Laws chaired by Councilor Faustino Olowan submitted for discussion en banc the compromise agreement between the city and the group of affected landowners for the city to waiveits claim over the P2.7 million accumulated rentals supposed to be paid by the local government to the landowners whose properties were affected by the city-owned mini-hydropower plants.
The city’s claim over the accumulated rentals was an offshoot of a civil case filed by former city officials against the landowners after some unscrupulous landowners allegedly diverted the water away from the power plants that resulted in over P600,000 worth of damages to the local government at that time.
The council wants to have a clearer picture of the actual situation from the City Legal Office before formally acting on the recommendation to waive the city’s claim over the accumulated lease rentals pursuant to the compromise agreement.
The compromise agreement was reached so the city can release the accumulated rentals.
At the same time, the City Council also extended an invitation to the management of Kaltimex Energy Philippines, the winning bidder for the privatization of the city-owned Asin mini-hydropower plants, to appear before their regular session on November 7, 2016, to inform the Council if it is capable of rehabilitating and operating the power plants. This will allow the local legislative body enough information before it will confirm the contract entered into by city and the power generation company.
The confirmation of the long-term contract has been pending before the local legislative body for over a year now that continues to deprive the city of added income from the operation of the city-owned power plants.
The city decided to privatize the operation of the Asin mini-hydropower plants after the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) ordered the local government to cease and desist from operating the power plants in October 2012 because the plants were not issued the required certificate of compliance pursuant to the provisions of Republic Act (RA) 9136 or the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA).
By Dexter A. See