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Pantabangan ‘powerless’ anew

February 11, 2013
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Masiway

PANTABANGAN, Nueva Ecija – As soon as the clock hit 12:00 noon Monday, former municipal employee Gerardo Sator knew his softdrinks business will be dead for an indefinite period of time.

“This is the time for my small business to earn but who drinks hot softdrinks,” Sator said as he expressed dismay over the “weak financial management” of the Pantabangan Municipal Electric System (PAMES).

“It is very unfortunate that our town suffered in yet another power outage that should have never happened,” he said of his town that hosts two big tax-paying companies such a Casecnan Multi-Purpose Irrigation and Power Project and First Gen Hydro Power Corporation (FGHPC).

This after FGHPC cut off power supply to PAMES over its alleged failure “to keep its account current having incurred unpaid power bills from July 2012 to December 2012 amounting to P8,762,405.58.

It was the second time power was cut off  under the charge of Mayor Romeo Borja Sr., amid a restructuring agreement between the town government and FGHPC that was forged on March 16, 2012.

The first was on July 23, 2012 that lasted to Aug. 2 of that same year after a series of negotiations between the power generation firm, the provincial government of Nueva Ecija, the municipal government under the guidance of then Sec. Jesse Robredo of the interior and local government.

A resident expressed hope the problem will be resolved soon. “It happened before, our officials can have it solved soon,” the resident who admitted having owed PAMES said.

Borja who reportedly went to the provincial capitol in Palayan City for an undisclosed purpose yesterday could not be reached for comment as of presstime.

Earlier, he said that PAMES paid FGHPC  P14 million last January for a total of P21 million . He said his administration never stopped looking for a solution to the problem existing in the town government long before he assumed the mayoralty post.

He said most of the people who would speak against him over the power mess are the ones who started it.

PAMES. He anchors hope on the management of private firm Kaltimex Energy Philippines.

This privatization, he explained, was a brainchild of the late DILG secretary.

Some interest groups opposed the privatization, however.

Sator called on the national government to start President Aquino’s “daang matuwid” in Pantabangan. “It’s only then that our lives will improve,” he said.

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