The House of Representatives (HOR) approved on second reading House Bill No. 9805, which seeks to grant a franchise to the Negros Electric and Power Corp. (NEPC) to take over the electric power distribution system of Central Negros Electric Cooperative, on Tuesday, February 13.
Rep. Gus S. Tambunting (Parañaque City, 2nd District), House Committee on Legislative Franchises chairman, sponsored the NEPC bill for plenary approval in the House.
The granting of the franchise would allow NEPC to establish, operate, and maintain an electric power distribution system in the cities of Bacolod, Silay, Talisay, and Bago, and the municipalities of Murcia and Don Salvador Benedicto in Negros Occidental for 25 years.
Tambunting said CENECO will still own 30 percent of NEPC and all of its debts and financial obligations will be settled through the Joint Venture Agreement.
He also assured that the CENECO employees will be cared for and their retirement and separation fees will be paid in accordance with their Collective Bargaining Agreements.
The primary objective of this franchise is to ensure the continuous and uninterrupted supply of electricity in the franchise area, to meet the energy needs of residents and contribute to the region’s development and progress, a NEPC press statement said.
“This legislation marks a significant step toward addressing the energy requirements of the covered areas, promoting economic growth, and enhancing the overall quality of electric distribution for the residents,” it said.
Principal authors of the bill aside from Tambunting are representatives Joseph Stephen Paduano (Abang Lingkod), Juliet Marie Ferrer (Neg. Occ., 4th District) and Francisco Benitez (Neg. Occ., 3rd District) with Greg Gasataya (Bacolod) as co-author.
Paduano expects HOR to approve bill on third and final reading next week or in early March.
After which a counterpart measure will have to be approved in the Senate and reconciled with that of the HOR in a bicameral conference if needed. It will then be sent back to the HOR for adoption and to Malacañang for signing into law by the president, Paduano said.*