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EDITORIAL: Cooperativsm in Action

Photos posted via social media project NEA administrator Edgardo R. Masongsong and PHILRECA Partylist Representative Presley De Jesus visiting CASURECO II personally welcoming and expressing gratitude and appreciation to the so called Warriors of Lights from INEC, ISECO, CENPELCO, LUELCO, PANELCO I and PANELCO III.

They were deployed to the Bicol Region to assist in the restoration and rehabilitation of CASURECO’S power lines extensively damaged by Typhoon Rolly. The news release says the ECs will be fielded at several areas within the coverage of CASURECO II. For sure the pictures will draw conflicting reactions, both positive and negative. From the positive side it could be interpreted superficially as a genuine concern of the personalities involved.

On the negative side it could be described as nothing but photo-ops. For after all whether they come or not there is that long standing arrangement among electric cooperatives of helping one another in times of calamities like Typhoon Rolly.

Whatever it may be the fact remains that all the interplays among electric cooperatives is part of the working arrangement which is a very laudable move. It is cooperativism in action.

In his book entitled “Beyond Darkness” the (Philippines Rural Electrification Story) author Francis T. Nacianceno Jr., founding president of CASURECO I and later its general manager, the author, having been at the helm of several organizations associated with the country’s rural electrification since 1972, saw different angles on the productive impact and heroic dimensions of the program.

As a pioneer he had a ringside view of how the country’s limited resources were transformed into pragmatic national development project as well as the changes the program faced.

He also served as President of Association of Bicol Electric Cooperatives (ABECO); Incorporator and First General Manager of the Federation of Electric Cooperatives of the Philippines (FECOPHIL now PHILRECA,); Consultant of the Committee of Energy, House of Representatives and the National Electrification Administration (NEA); and the founding President of the Rural Electrification Advocates of the Philippines (REAP) and the Synergy Renewables, Inc.

He pointed out that charges of mismanagement, irregularities, financial and high system losses should be treated on a case – to - case basis and never as a national malaise.

Indeed the illnesses bugging the electric cooperatives cannot be treated on a nationwide scale. Each and everyone are hampered by specific problems. Treating therefore this rural electrification problem offers so much risk of exposure to personality cults like the one depicted by the NEA management and partylist, who seem to display a very prominent role in charting the course of electric cooperatives.

Perhaps tasteless clowns should only assume a cameo role. After all electric cooperatives survive and may face death out of their own makings. NEA as pointed out in Nepomuceno’s book is nothing but an institution tasked to finance rural electrification efforts through loans.

Simply stated the role of NEA and partylist PHILRECA should be tempered, in keeping with the basic concept that electric cooperatives are supposed to be independent institutions, in order to help promote rural electrification and with its appurtenant economic impact for community development.

Encourage the bayanihan spirit among electric cooperatives. Spare them from unnecessary influence that runs counter to cooperativism. Junk empty posturings. Rather think of ways and means to cushion the prospect of increased power rates, on account of the destruction attributable to typhoon rolly and other calamities.

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