Iloilo City―Local government officials of Iloilo City have not exactly welcomed the entry of Monte Oro Resources and Energy Inc. with open arms and blamed the company for seeking to take over the city’s power distribution franchise from Panay Electric Co. Inc.
More executives presented to the city council last week their plans to modernize power distribution and reduce prices for consumers, but the local officials were not impressed, saying the plans bordered on the improbable, if not impossible.
Vice Mayor Jeffrey Ganzon said he was not convinced by the company he called a “carpetbagger,” adding that he was particularly incensed by More’s application for a business permit in Iloilo long before the House of Representatives had approved its franchise application.
Ganzon cited a legal doctrine that states “Priority in time, priority in rights” to justify his stand that Peco deserved to continue being Iloilo’s sole power distributor.
More received its franchise from Congress under allegedly “anomalous” conditions, according to the vice mayor, who is also a Protestant minister.
One of the city’s youngest councilors, Lady Grace ‘LoveLove’ Baronda, said More’s business plan was long on grand vision but short on detail.
Assistant floor leader of the city council Baronda said More’s presentation of its plans left her with more questions than answers. More’s plans, she said, appeared to be “super ambitious,” with a promise to deliver miraculous results “in a span if six months.” Such plans, she said, were “not doable.”
More officials were evasive when asked such basic questions as to where it would source the supply that would be distributed to Iloilo. “How can you lower prices when you don’t even know where you will get the power?” she asked.
She also found More’s breach of protocol disturbing.
“Why just now?” she asked More officials during their session. “They never bothered to pay city officials a courtesy visit,” which is standard operating procedure when a big newcomer wants to set up shop in any town or city, according to Baronda.
Meanwhile, a captain of one of the 180 barangays that comprise Iloilo City, said her peers were overwhelmingly in favor of having Peco retain its franchise.
Josephine Navarro, five-term head of Barangay San Felix, said “we will not agree, or we will not permit, that they will kick out PECO, for the reason that we do not know about More. Nothing.”
In contrast, the 72-year-old Navarro has been a Peco customer since 1958 when she moved to Iloilo from Antique. She said she had no complaints about the company that has served the city for 95 years.