MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte has signed a law granting a firm owned by tycoon Enrique Razon Jr. to operate a power distribution system in Iloilo City.
Duterte signed Republic Act 11212 on Feb. 14 granting MORE Electric and Power Corporation a franchise to "establish, operate, and maintain, for commercial purposes and in the public interest, a distribution system for the conveyance of electric power to end users in Iloilo City."
The signing of MORE’s franchise is a key development in the dispute involving it and the Panay Electric Company, the franchise of which expired on Jan. 18.
Panay Electric has been waiting for the schedule of its franchise renewal hearing since last year but no schedule was given despite "constant followups," PECO administrative manager Marcelo Cacho earlier said.
Panay Electric to continue operations even after franchise expires on Jan. 18 [https://news.abs-cbn.com/business/01/18/19/panay-electric-to-continue-operations-even-after-franchise-expires-on-jan-18]
Panay Electric earlier said it will "challenge" any decision that would grant a franchise to MORE, Cacho said.
Under the newly signed law, PECO shall be temporarily authorized to operate the existing distribution system within its franchise area, as well as implement its existing power supply agreements with generation companies that had been provisionally or finally approved by the Energy Regulatory Commission until the establishment or acquisition by MORE of its own distribution system.
Upon compliance with its rules, the ERC shall grant PECO the necessary provisional certificate of public convenience and necessity covering such interim period.
“The provisional authority to operate during the transition period shall not be construed as extend ding the franchise of PECO after its expiration on January 18, 2019,” the law reads.
“The grantee and PECO shall jointly ensure that employees not hired by the grantee shall receive all separation and/or retirement benefits they are entitled to in accordance with applicable laws.”
ABS-CBN's sister company, First Philippine Holdings, is a minority stakeholder in PECO.