Albay governor, lawmakers favor SMC takeover of Aleco
LEGAZPI CITY - Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla presented two options in order to bring back Albay Electric Cooperative to its feet.
Either another electric cooperative manages it or a private entity takes over and assumes ALECO's P3.6 billion debt.
Petilla said stakeholders in Albay have until September 14 to pick their choice though a referendum.
Albay governor Joey Salceda favors the entry of a private firm, in this case, an energy unit of conglomerate San Miguel Corp.
"Unang-una sasabihin namin, malaking investor sa Albay - San Miguel. Sigurado ako yun ibang probinsya maglalaway sa Albay, kukunin din San Miguel" Salceda said.
Several lawmakers have also expressed support for handing the operation and maintenance of ALECO to San Miguel.
"I'm inclined to favor San Miguel," said Albay Rep. Al Francis Bichara.
"Management-wise, San Miguel has the capability to handle it. The coop-to-coop offer does not offer a solution," Albay Rep. Fernando Gonzalez said.
But there are also those who raised other options.
"I'm appealing to NEA, magpa-utang ng P2 billion for the corporate rehabilitation of ALECO," Albay Rep. Greco Lagman said.
Petilla said he is not pushing for any particular option. What he wants is for ALECO to recover at the soonest possible time.
"There's always a danger na maputulan ang Albay depende sa koleksyon... Ang susunod na bill nila is August 25," Petilla said.
Petilla encouraged supporters of both options to campaign before referendum day.
San Miguel is the lone bidder for the private sector participation mode, while Benguet Electric Cooperative has offered to manage ALECO under a coop-to-coop deal.