The province of Albay is in a tight bind caused by the pending threat of electric supply disconnection by the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) on Albay electric cooperative (Aleco) due to unpaid and outstanding power bill debts.
But the officials of the province, municipalities and cities are rising in unison and may file an inter-generation class suit against the state. This move was agreed upon at the session hall of the sangguniang panlalawigan on Wednesday with Governor Joey Salceda at the helm of the discussion.
The suit will strongly demand for fair, just economic benefits and compensation from the central government for its exploitation and use of Albay’s renewable geothermal energy resources since 1972.
The geothermal plants in the province has been a source of cheap power channelled to most parts of the provinces and cities of Luzon island.
During all these years when the national government has exploited the geothermal resources of the province, Albay’s share from its generation was so minuscule. It was further strangulated by the passage of the Regalian principle during the regime of President Ferdinand Marcos.
The jurisprudence approved in 1973 mandated that all natural resources of the country belong to the state. Hence, it occurred the benefits from the exploitation of the geothermal energy of the province become the sole property of the national government.
The owner of a private property who happenstance to have mineral resource can not in any way perform mining or extraction activity without the approval of the national government since it is the state which owns the mineral following the Regalian principle.
So now, does it ever occured to us why electricity generated by the geothermal plants in the region are being controlled by the national government and its instrumentalities?
Check out why sometimes there’s brown-out or blackout in some parts of the region yet electricity continue to flow outward of Albay and Bicol, feeding the factories and industries located in southern Tagalog?
O yes, electric service can be shut down in Bicol and let it first flow towards Manila, then redirected back to the region. That’s what those transmission lines are used for.
Or, why is the electric bill we pay higher here compared than those in Metro Manila? Interesting points to ponder.