MORE Power promises ‘just’ compensation for Cachos   

Published March 26, 2019, 12:45 AM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza & Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat



Floro L. Mercene
Floro L. Mercene

The end of the congressional drama over the franchise of the utility that will distribute electricity in Iloilo City with almost 60,000 customers came with surprise for no one but the owners of Panay Electric Co. (PECO) whose franchise expired last January 19.

President Rodrigo Duterte signed on Valentine’s Day, February 14, into law Republic Act No. 11212 giving MORE Electric Power Corp. owned by business tycoon Enrique Razon Jr. a 25-year congressional fiat to take over the city’s power distribution franchise, ending the 95-year monopoly by the Cacho clan.

Despite its victory in securing the congressional franchise, MORE Power sought to present a humble face to its rival by seeking negotiations for an amicable settlement with the Cachos for a just compensation for the PECO assets that MORE Power needs to take over so it could build its own reliable electricity distribution system.

This was supported by one of the Cachos’ original political allies, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, who said there should be an amicable settlement between the two companies to ensure Iloilo City’s consumers would enjoy continuous electricity supply.

The Cachos, however, remain defiant of the mandate that the Senate and the House of Representatives granted to MORE Power and which President Duterte signed into law. PECO’s owners declared MORE Power should set  up its own electricity distribution system as it plans to still secure a legislative franchise when a new Congress convenes in June this year so Iloilo could have two power utilities.

RA 11212 actually entitles MORE Power to take “immediate possession, operation, control, use, and disposition of the properties sought to be expropriated, including the power of demolition,” once it has initiated expropriation proceedings and deposited in the bank the full assessed value of the PECO distribution asset it wants to take over.

To ensure that Iloilo City consumers will enjoy continued electricity service as MORE Power builds up its electricity distribution system, Congress allowed PECO to continue to operate for a maximum period of two years.