Basilan solon asks Napocor to condone power firm's P3.4-B debt

By Zaldy De Layola

February 20, 2024, 6:58 pm

<p>Deputy Minority Leader and Basilan Lone District Rep. Mujiv Hataman <em>(File photo)</em></p>

Deputy Minority Leader and Basilan Lone District Rep. Mujiv Hataman (File photo)

MANILA – Deputy Minority Leader and Basilan Lone District Rep. Mujiv Hataman on Tuesday asked the National Power Corporation (Napocor) to condone the whopping PHP3.4 billion debt of the Basilan Electric Cooperative (Baselco).

Hataman made the request during the House Committee on Energy inquiry into the perennial power outages in Basilan.

“Medyo nanlumo tayo at nadismaya nang malamang lagpas PHP3 bilyon na ang utang ng Baselco sa Napocor. At sa utang na ito, halos interes lang ang nababayaran buwan-buwan habang patuloy pang lumalaki ang utang (We were a bit saddened and disappointed when we leaned Baselco owes Napocor PHP3 billion. And with this loan, almost only interest is paid every month while the debt continues to grow),” he said.

Hazel delos Santos, officer-in-charge for credit management of Napocor, informed the panel that Baselco’s debt was only PHP165.384 million in 2002.

The cooperative, she added, already paid PHP2.2 billion in interest to Napocor.

Hataman said he learned that Baselco’s debt ballooned to PHP3.4 billion due to mismanagement issues.

“In fact, the cooperative’s debt was only more than PHP100 million then. How could it ever turn this big?” Hataman wondered.

He said the PHP2.2 billion paid for interest alone could be more than enough for the debt of Baselco.

Hataman said Basilan residents will continue to suffer from frequent power outages because Baselco must pay off its debt first, instead of investing on facilities and services.

He said the people of Basilan have to endure up to 10 power interruptions every day.

“This is a vicious cycle that victimizes only the citizens of Basilan,” he said.

He also castigated the National Electrification Administration for unwittingly allowing the continued mismanagement of Baselco over the years. (PNA)