“Only electricity wires, eitherdamaged or overloaded, can cause fire, not telephone or cable televisionwires,” BFP told ERC during a recent hearing. PECO is operating in the city only byvirtue of a CPCN. Its franchise expired on Jan. 19, 2019 yet. She thencommended the city government of Iloilo for proactively addressing the problemon pole fires. Mayor Jerry Treñas recently sought the help of ERC andMalacañang. The ERC immediately commenced an investigation. The P106.8million covers the P97 million real estate tax arrears, documentary stamp taxand the registration fees, the city treasurer added. The HouseCommittee on Energy will spearhead the congressional inquiry; the date is yetto be set though. These leaning poles and dangling wires are found along Timawa Street in Molo, Iloilo City. Cong. Julienne Baronda says this is a serious public safety matter that should be addressed promptly. The House of Representatives will conduct an investigation on the series of pole fires in the city. These fires are endangering the lives of city residents, according to Baronda. Under ERC Resolution No. 5, Series of2008, any power distribution utility granted a Certificate of PublicConvenience and Necessity (CPCN) to operate a distribution system in any areamust comply with standards set under the Philippine Distribution Code,especially those that concern public safety. Baronda revealedshe had actually written DOE seeking an explanation for the pole fires. Shewanted to be clarified how safe the electricity posts in the city were. “DOE and PECO owethe public an explanation,” said the neophyte congresswoman. “If theirexplanations are wanting, we will exercise the congressional oversight power ofthe House Committee on Energy.” ILOILO City – TheHouse of Representatives will conduct an investigation on the series of polefires in this city. These fires are endangering the lives of city residents,according to Cong. Julienne Baronda, and the Department of Energy (DOE) andPanay Electric Co. (PECO) have a lot of explaining to do. The commission isexpected to release the result of its probe anytime soon. Ladrillo said theP106.8-million floor price was computed based on PECO’s total tax liabilitysince 2006 amounting to P97,164,438.81, the cost of the sale includingdocumentary stamp tax estimated at P9,716,443. 88 and a registration fee ofP802.64.He said the Dec. 12 auction is open to everyone./PN The total marketvalue of PECO’s posts and the land where they stand on is estimated at P214.9million, according to the City Treasurer’s Office’s Tax Enforcement Divisionchief John Ladrillo. Hermano said theDec. 12 auction of PECO’s power distribution assets, including its 30,000 agedelectricity poles and the land where they stand on, would proceed as approvedby Treñas. PECO would only be able to cancel the auction if it pays the P106.8 millionfloor price set by the city government for the auction, said Hermano. Iloilo CityTreasurer Jinny Hermano said he could not recommend to Mayor Treñas to agree tosuch arrangement as it would mean losing P38 million in penalties. CITY REFUSES PECO TAX PAYMENT OFFERIna related development, the City Treasurer’s Office rejected the offer of PECOto settle its P97-million realty tax obligation in two tranches in two years aslong as the city government waives all penalties and fees. But pole firedata that the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) recently submitted to the EnergyRegulatory Commission (ERC) was more damning, she said. From January 2014to October 29, 2019, BFP recorded a total of 2,887 fire incidents in IloiloCity and of these, 1,464 were pole fires. Between Oct. 19to 21 alone, according to Baronda, nine pole fires were reported. An average of 28 pole fires take placein Iloilo City every month, or almost 300 incidents every year, according tothe BFP. “Due to thenonpayment of taxes, the business permits of PECO have not been issued by theBusiness Permits and Licensing Office and when I came in (as city mayor) Idiscovered (the details) about it. We gave PECO time because they told ourlawyers they were going to make an offer. But the offer was not acceptable sothe City Treasurer proceeded with the (option of) auction sale,” Treñas saidwhen he announced the auction last week. The congresswomanalso urged ERC chief Agnes Devanadera to support the House probe. PECO had notsettled its real estate tax to the city government since 2006.
A large pile-up of garbage in the vicinity of the Stabroek Market caused traffic chaos on Saturday as both commuters and vehicles tried to navigate the filthy area.The specific area, which was set aside for waste collection, was overflowing with refuse, mainly comprising of used cardboard boxes, rice bags filled with used plastic bottles and buckets, among other items.The odour of the garbage dump stretched some distance away as the week’s garbage from the market was left unattended by City Hall and its garbage collectors.Market waste, according to vendors, was not collected during the week causing the major pile-up.The garbage scattered over to the road, blocking an entire traffic lane. Drivers were forced to reverse on the one-way lane and take another route out of the congested area.Luckily, vendors were kind enough and assisted drivers in this process to avoid further confusion. But with this major garbage crisis affecting hundreds, the Mayor and City Council’s (M&CC’s), Solid Waste Management Director, Walter Narine, was unreachable. Calls to his mobile went unanswered while the Public Relations Officer at City Hall, Debra Lewis, was also unreachable.When contacted and asked for a comment on the situation, Mayor Ubraj Narine explained to Guyana Times that contractors were deployed to have the area cleared.Narine said he was not sure what led to the situation becoming so uncontainable, but claimed that there has been a recent upsurge in waste collection. According to him, this has been posing a major challenge to City Hall given that 50 to 60 per cent of its revenue goes towards waste collection.On this note, he said that the agency plans to have another compactor placed in the area but this will cost an additional $35,000. Against this backdrop, Narine appealed to residents to be more responsible in the disposal of their waste. In fact, the Mayor even encouraged composting, which simply means using biodegradable materials such as vegetable skins and others to make a heap or apply as manure for plants.This will decrease the amount of waste being collected and lodged at dumpsites which ultimately poses a threat to the environment.On the other hand, Narine noted that this situation is not one which is unfamiliar to other parts of the capital city. According to him, hundreds of thousands is usually spent to have various sections of Georgetown cleared, especially Regent Street, a commercial area.In fact, the Mayor said that he is still awaiting a meeting with the Private Sector Commission (PSC) on this matter. He added that the situation has been less worrying since M&CC established a relationship with the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI).Back in April of this year, a similar situation plagued the Stabroek Market area.