NOTE: This story was first published in The Bohol Chronicle’s Sunday print edition.
“So it’s not really very material,” Vice-Gov. Rene Lopez Relampagos expressed lament over the share of the provincial government from the operations of the hydro power plants 1 and 2 in Loboc river by Sta. Clara Power Corp. for 15 years.
This came following the proposed Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the Sta. Clara Power Corporation and the Province of Bohol for the Establishment and Administration of Trust Accounts for Development and Livelihood Fund (DLF) and Rehabilitation, Watershed Management, Health and/or Environment Enhancement Fund (RWMHEEF) in accordance with Department of Energy (DOE) Department Circular No. DC2018-08-0021in connection with the Sta. Clara Power Corporation –Loboc 1 and 2 Hydro Electric Plants.
This is contained in a joint committee on public utilities and appropriations report and consequently recommended to pass a Resolution authorizing the governor to represent and sign the said MOA in behalf of the provincial government.
And Provincial board indeed passed the measure, to wit: Resolution No. 2020-659, is authorizing the Honorable Governor Arthur C.Yap to enter into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the Sta. Clara Power Corporation and the Province of Bohol for the establishment and administration of Trust Accounts for Development and Livelihood Fund (DLF) and Rehabilitation, Watershed Management, Health and Environment Enhancement Fund (RWMHEEF) in accordance with Department of Energy (DOE) Department Circular No.DC2018-08-0021 in connection with the Sta. Clara Power Corporation –Loboc 1 and2 Hydro Power Plants.
Provincial Board Members Romulo G. Cepedoza sponsored the said measure and BMs Restituto B. Auxtero, Aldner R. Damalerio, Frans Gelaine C. Garcia, Vierna Mae B.Maglasang, Ricky U. Masamayor and the Presiding Officer, Vice Gov. Rene L. Relampagos.
Relampagos told his colleagues that forthe “15th year period of operation of Sta. Clara Power Corporationas far as their Hydroelectric Power Plant in Loboc is concerned, the amount inconsideration here for the 15 years, the share is only P 91,000.0”0 for the entire 15 years. So, you’re only talking of a share to the provincial government in the amount of something like P6,066.00 per year and supposedly that fund is for livelihood fund and for reforestation/watershed.”
“Further information, the Loboc Hydroelectric Power Plant is the first power plant of the Province of Bohol. It has been privatized to the private sector in accordance to the EPIRA Law and it was bidded out and awarded to Sta. Clara Power Corporation. The said power plant is only operating a 1.2-megawatt power plant and based on their information during the committee meeting, they have upgraded it to add another1.2 megawatts. In other words, the Loboc Hydroelectric Power Plant is capable of generating about 2.4 megawatts but for the present. They are only contributing 1.2 megawatts because the other 1.2 megawatts have not been connected to the grid,” the vice-governor said.
The passage of the measure was an offshoot of the Office of the Governor’s request for an authority to sign a Memorandum of Agreement with the Sta. Clara Power Corporation that operates the Loboc Hydroelectric Plant in accordance with the provisions of the Department of Energy Act of 1992 and inconsistent with Section 22 (c) and Section 465 (b) (1) (vi) of the Local Government Code.
Presiding Officer informed the body that the Loboc Hydrolectric Plant was used to be owned by the National Power Corporation but by virtue of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) law was sold to a private corporation, the Sta. Clara Power Corporation.
The committee found, among others, that the said agreement is in connection with the establishment and administration of trust accounts of Sta. Clara Power Corporation Loboc Hydro-Electric Plant pursuant to Section 5(i) of Republic ActNo. 7638(R.A. No. 7638), otherwise known as the “Department of Energy Act of1992” which mandates the Department of Energy (DOE) to devise ways and means of giving direct benefits to the province, city or municipality, specially the community and people affected and equitable and preferential to the region that Hosts the energy resource and/or the energy- generating facility.
Consequently, the DOE issued Department Circular No. DC2018-08-0021 and pursuant to Section 6of the said Circular the financial benefit shall be allocated in the following manner; twenty-five percent (25%) of one centavo per kilowatt-hour(P0.0025/kWh) for Development and Livelihood Fund (DLF) and twenty-five percent(25%) of one centavo per kilowatt-hour (P0.0025/kWh) for Reforestation, Watershed Management, Health and/or Environment Enhancement Fund (RWMHEEF).
Under the agreement the Sta. Clara Power Corporation shall remit directly to the province its share of the DLF and RWMHEEF in the manner set forth in Section 6 ofDC2018-08-0021; that under the same agreement, the Province of Bohol shall be responsible for the opening and maintenance of the DLF and RWMHEEF Trust Accounts as well as conduct minimum social preparation activities such as, but not limited to community consultations and orientations in the preparations of the annual work program,issue official receipt (OR).
Ms. Caromae Quimado of the Sta. Clara Power Corporation told the committee “from the start of their operation in July 2005 until June of this year or for a span of 15 years, thecompany has given the province a total of P91,363.79 for the DLF, and the same amount for RWMHEEF for the same period.” (rvo)