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Legazpi City, [09.28.15] Amidst the diocesan pressure to end the protest led by the three priests from Congregatio Sanctissimi Redemptoris [C.Ss.R] against the privatization of Albay Electric Cooperative [ALECO] – the hunger strike has generated support from other group and individuals has entered its 9th day campaign to oust Albay Power and Energy Corporation [APEC].

Hunger Strike on the Picketline: Reverend Father Oliver Castor, [C.Ss.R], [center] VACC Chair, Dante Jimenez and Demetrio C. Reynoso of CroW talks with nuns in the picketline.

Hunger Strike on the Picketline: Reverend Father Oliver Castor, [C.Ss.R], [center] VACC Chair, Dante Jimenez and Demetrio C. Reynoso of CroW talks with nuns in the picketline.

On Saturday, September 26, Reverend Father Oliver Castor has completed his one week hunger strike with a total of 172 hours with additional ten persons who voluntarily joined the hunger strike.

Dante Jimenez of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption fasted 46 hours, Attorney Bart R. Rayco with 51 hours,Mark Christian Rivera, 48 hours,Melchor Barcelon,33 hours,Reverend Father Jing Alea, 66 hours, Ephraim De Vera, 32 hours, Demetrio Reynoso, 28 hours, Darlan P. Barcelon 13 hours.

More persons will go on voluntary hunger strike today, as the campaign against privatization is heating up.

The campaign against privatization of energy distribution in the province of Albay under  the management of Albay Power and Energy Corporation, has been resonant for almost more than a year now  to return to the people [member consumers] – as their take-over remains unratified by its General Assembly.

The illegal take over of the utility distribution is a metaphor of corporate greed and impunity, Reverend Father Oliver Castor told The Philippine Examiner  in  the onset of the hunger strike last September 19.

APEC Cartoon. Photo by Ephraim De Vera

APEC Cartoon. Photo by Ephraim De Vera

The protest was triggered by the arbitrary confiscation of two transformers owned by the Redemptorist Church in Gogon, Legazpi City last September 18, 2015. Although, APEC management attempted to return the two transformers, the Redemptorist  remains steadfast not accept the gesture of APEC to return the illegally sequestered  transformers.

The collaboration of the local politicians of Albay together with a diocesan endorsement of Private Sector Participation [PSP], has proven to be a failure in providing cheap and reliable energy distribution among its’ member consumers.

From service oriented electric cooperative, the endorsers of privatization opted  the  private corporation to manage the power distribution in Albay under a concession agreement, using ALECO  franchise within twenty five years.

The failure of privatization to make a turn-around is the clamor of the members of the Albay Multi-Sectoral Organization and other stakeholders to oust APEC, Support the Non Payment to APEC and boycott all products of San Miguel Corporation.

Engineer Virgilio A. Perdigon, Jr was quoted in a statement how the so-called ALECO Board, has became inutile in the following circumstances. According to him;

  1. Failure to defend the Terms of Reference when six were demanded by San Miguel to be revised into a formulation suitable to the latter’s agenda (please read our separate article on this);
  2. Allowing the proceedings even when only one bidder, San Miguel, participated on August 7, 2013;
  3. Failure to act on the privateers’ vote-buying during the referendum between C2C and PSP, all evidence and public knowledge notwithstanding;
  4. Non-objection to the inclusion of Atty. Veronica Briones as member of the Board; she is not even a resident of Albay;
  5. Failure to act on APEC San Miguel’s non-compliance with the Return-to-Work Order for the ALEO strikers issued by DOLE;
  6. Failure to have the Concession Agreement ratified by ALECO member-consumers despite the promise in the PSP flier;
  7. Voltage fluctuations that have damaged so many appliances;
  8. Billing errors;
  9. Pricing of electricity rates without ERC approval;
  10. Robbery of drop wires, fuse links and transformers by disconnection teams of APEC San Miguel;
  11. Contractualization of labor by APEC San Miguel even when the Church has declared such practice as wrong.