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Sen. Gatchalian: ‘No’ to Bicol Light franchise

By Paulo DS. Papa

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Energy expressed his opposition to the grant of franchise to the Bicol Light and Power Corporation (BLPC) during an interview on Dec. 4 in Naga City.

Gatchalian was referring to House Bill (HB) No. 4437, which seeks to grant legislative franchise to BLPC to operate, manage and maintain a power distribution utility in the same coverage area of Camarines Sur III Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Casureco III).

The senator said that consumers in the Rinconada area will suffer from an increase in their monthly electric bills once the proposed bill is approved by the Senate.

“Tutol ako dito sa franchise nito dahil tataas ang presyo ng kuryente, Ayaw kong mangyari sa mga kababayan natin dito sa Bicol. Kung mangyari ito, ito yung kauna-unahang dalawa ang distributor sa isang lugar,” he said.

The bill, authored by Camarines Sur 2nd District Rep. Luis Raymund Villafuerte, is titled “An Act Granting the Bicol Light and Power Corporation a Franchise to Construct, Install, Establish, Operate, Own, Manage and Maintain a Power Distribution System for the Conveyance of Electric Power to End User in the Towns of Baao, Balatan, Bato, Bulsa, Buhi, Nabua, and the City of Iriga, Province of Camarines Sur and for Other Purposes.”

It already passed the Senate Committee on Public Services chaired by Sen. Grace Poe.

Gatchalian added that if there will be two electric distributors in Rinconada area, consumers in the district will be divided into two, so the price of electricity will increase based on the results of several studies conducted by different institutions including the Energy Regulation Commission.

“Sa distributor, ang importante paramihan ang customers eh. Kung pakuntian, lalaki ang presyo ng kuryente doon” he said adding that “at ako ang tinitingnan ko na ang aking direksyon ay maprotektahan ang consumers at gawin lahat para bumaba ang presyo ng kuryente”.

Gatchalian said he will schedule another committee hearing to discuss the bill. He said he will invite electric consumers from the Rinconada district to attend the hearing and give them an opportunity to air their sentiments on the issue.

“Dapat invited lahat pati consumers dahil hindi ito issue ni Casureco III lang, pati ng consumers. At the end of the day, ang magbabayad consumers kaya kailangan nilang malaman ang impact,” he said.

The senator, who is running for reelection, visited the Bicol Medical Center (BMC) in Naga City on Dec. 4. He donated some 5,000 sets of personal protection equipment (PPE), 4,000 pieces of KN95 facemasks and 50 sacks of slippers to medical workers in the city. The same donated items are given to health frontliners in the Bicol Regional Training and Teaching Hospital, Legazpi City.

DONATION Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian turns over various items to the Bicol Medical Center for its frontliners. With him are Dra. Mary Jane Guanzon-Uy, BMC’s medical professional staff chief and Dr. Ronnie Gregorio Gigantone III, BMC’s officer-in-charge. (PHOTO BY PAULO DS. PAPA)

Gatchalian said that the donation is an expression of gratitude, appreciation and love to the medical frontliners.

He lauded Dr. Ronnie Gregorio Gigantone III, BMC’s officer-in-charge, for the hospital preparations in the event of Covid-19 surge due to the Omicron variant.

“Dito sa Bicol Medical Center, nakahanda pa rin sila which is a good mentality. Tayo nagre-relax pag nakikita natin na bumababa na ang active cases. I learned from Doc Ronnie dito sa BMC na sila ay laging handa which is maganda naman yung ginagawa nila just to protect the public. Tamang-tama sana kahit papano makatulong kami sa kanilang paghahanda,” he said.

Gigantone said the senator’s donation is a big help to BMC.


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