By ACE ALEGRE
BANGUED, Abra — An initial uproar against the on-going share capital collection of the Abra Electric Cooperative (Abreco) has simmered down after the province’s key political leaders threw in their support to the cooperative’s signing up with the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA).
Abra Rep. Ma. Jocelyn Bernos, vice chairperson of the House Committee on Cooperative Development has sealed a brewing controversy over the collection of share capital among Abreco’s member-consumers after explaining to fellow Abrenians that “the collection of share capital by Abreco management was legal.”
This the Abra rep. found after consulting Coop NATCO party-list rep. Jose Ping-ay who explained to her that “share capital is legal and is for the development of the cooperative.”
One of the first among Northern Luzon electric coops to sign up with the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) and the first in the Cordillera region, Abreco has begun asking its member-consumers for their capital shares thru their monthly billings. This was new to consumers in the province and did not sit very well with them.
Abreco general manager Loreto Seares Jr vowed “a full disclosure and accounting of the cooperative funds to be generated out of the contributions from the cooperators in the form of a capital build-up.”
Now under the CDA, Abreco is looking forward to diversifying to be able to withstand present economic pressures while improving its electrification efforts and service to its member-consumers.
“With Rep. Bernos at our back and Gov. Eustaquio Bersamin who has provided invaluable endorsements in the programs of the cooperative, we will not fail,” Seares Jr. said.
The conversion of electric cooperatives to stock cooperatives is being urged nationwide by the Ating Koop Partylist group.
Seen to be more advantageous to consumer-members, Rep. Isidro Lico said enrolling into the CDA would redound to the member consumers and the electric cooperative itself.
CDA registered cooperatives are exempted from the 12% government Value Added Tax (VAT) which would eventually result to the reduction of electric rates for the consumers.
Conversion of electric cooperatives into a stock coop would also give recognition to consumers as co-owners of the cooperative, Rep. Lico added, explaining that in the present set-up, consumers are not considered as such because there is no record of ownership and contribution of consumers.
In Benguet and Baguio, some consumer have been voicing out misgivings of how the Benguet Electric Cooperative (Beneco) is being run like a “private firm” and “it being a cooperative where member-consumers are a priority only lies in its name, not in its supposed practice.”
“When an electric coop registers with the CDA, every contribution from the consumers will be considered as their capital share, which could also earn corresponding dividends,” Rep. Lico reiterated.
Registering into the CDA, also strengthens electric cooperatives because the consumers as co-owners or share holders would seriously help protect the electric cooperatives from systems loss, he said.
He also belied criticisms that once an electric coop converts to a stock cooperative it will no longer be supported by the National Electrification Administration (NEA). ”NEA under the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) is mandated to support all electric cooperatives, even if they become a stock cooperative.” # nordis.net