The 1 Mindanao Energy Cooperative (1MIECOOP) has called on leading government agencies to support its plan to establish hydropower plants in Mindanao in a bid “to liberate private consumers from the exorbitant rates imposed by private companies.”
Edgar P. Silagan, 1MIECOOP Chairperson on Wednesday revealed the coop has already send two letters to the Office of the President and to both the Cabinet Secretary and Department of Energy.
The first expressed its position on the de-privatization of power companies in Mindanao, and the other on the acquisition of Agus-Pulangi Hydro Electric Power Plants (HEPP).
Silagan stressed, the group has chosen to venture into renewable energy because of its advocacy to de-privatized power generation in the island region which are owned and “monopolized” by corporations who charged the consumers with high power rates.
“We must liberate consumers from the exorbitant rates charged by private companies. We have long been at the mercy of these companies,” said Silagan.
In 2015, the cooperative has already offered a bid to operate and manage the $1.6 billion Agus-Pulangi Hydro Electric Power Plants.
Silagan disclosed, aside from the Agus-Pulangi Hydro Electric Power Plants (HEPP) acquisition, the group is eyeing to establish two hydropower plants in Agusan del Sur which will generate 20 megawatts of power.
This will need around $700 million or P34 billion.
According to Silagan, at present, 1MIECOOP which was established in 2015, is still at its formative stage and has 35 member cooperatives from three federations namely, Model Cooperative of the Philippines, Federation of People’s Sustainable Development Cooperative (FPSDC), and Mindanao Funeral Services Cooperative.
The group is registered under Cooperative Development Authority and under the supervision of Engineering and Development Corporation of the Philippines, the pioneer engineering consultancy in the Philippines.
With more than 500,000 individual members from these cooperatives with P20 billion total assests, Silagan is optimistic the group can collect enough amount to start the establishment of the power plants.
“Then if not, we will borrow from the banks,” said Silagan.
Rhoda Pillerin Chief Executive Officer of Model Cooperative Network said the group is still encouraging other cooperatives to join 1MIECOOP.
“If cooperatives are allowed to run Mindanao’s power plants, it will provide social justice, peace and prosperity, employment opportunities and more importantly, we can lower the rate of power charges in Mindanao,” said Silagan.
He also expressed confidence that cooperatives will be transparent, will implement good governance, and will uphold peace in Mindanao because “even our Lumads and Muslim people are members of this cooperative”.