Marcos vetoes bill expanding DLPC franchise

PRESIDENT Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. has vetoed House Bill 10554, an Act Expanding the Franchise Area of Davao Light and Power Co., Inc. (DLPC), noting that the area targeted for expansion would mean that DLPC would effectively “kill” the current franchise holder, North Davao Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Nordeco). 

In his veto letter sent to the Senate and House of Representatives on Wednesday, Mr. Marcos said that he is concerned that the measure could be subject to a court challenge if Nordeco defends its interests.

“I remain committed to the pursuit and attainment of this objective in a vigorous and systematic manner, with utmost respect for the concomitant rights of the public service entities engaged in supplying electric service,” Mr. Marcos said in his letter, noting that with Nordeco’s franchise ending in 2023, “House Bill 10554, aims to kill the (electric cooperative’s) franchise.”

He said the measure would violate Section 27 of Republic Act No. 9136 or the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) of 2001. Section 27 allows franchises to continue operating over their full term.

“Likewise, the resulting repeal of North Davao Electric Cooperative, Inc.’s franchise over the expanded franchise area will violate the non-impairment clause as provided in Section 10, Article III of the 1987 Constitution,” the President said.

Asked to comment, Rodger S. Velasco, president and chief operating officer of DLPC, said the company has been notified of the veto.

“We can confirm that we have received information that Malacañang vetoed House Bill 10554, which is meant to expand the franchise area of AboitizPower subsidiary Davao Light and Power Co. to Davao del Norte,” Mr. Velasco said in a text message.

Mr. Velasco declined to comment further pending the issuance of an official company statement and “until we receive final instructions from regulators and government authorities.” — Ashley Erika O. Jose with Maya M. Padillo