PSALM duns 14 firms for P1.9-billion arrears

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THE Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (PSALM) has given 14 firms 10 days to pay long-overdue obligations totaling some P1.931 billion or face legal action.

In a statement, the Department of Finance said PSALM had sent final letters of demand to the entities, including a state university, a hotel and an electric cooperative. The erring firms are mostly province-based.

“For years, these companies have evaded the collection efforts of NPC (National Power Corp.) and PSALM, causing extreme prejudice and serious damage to PSALM and the government. Under President Duterte’s administration, there are no sacred cows,” Irene Joy J. Besido-Garcia, PSALM president and chief executive officer, said in the statement.

She said PSALM would run after the firms that fail to pay their arrears within 10 days from receipt of the demand letters.

“We will not hesitate to file cases against these firms and their officers if the arrears are not paid soon. We need to protect electricity consumers who end up subsidizing the cost of these firms’ nonpayment,” she said.

Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III, who chairs PSALM’s board of directors, and Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi, who is ex-officio board member, were furnished copies of the letters.

PSALM said outstanding obligations include unpaid electricity bills, deferred accounting adjustments, unpaid automatic cost recovery mechanism charges, value-added taxes, interest payments and penalty.

The state company has been claiming the arrears through previous letters.

Of the 14 companies with arrears, the one with the biggest obligation at P611.36 million is NPC Alliance Corp., a polyethylene plant located at the PAFC Industrial Park in Mariveles, Bataan. The overdue amount covered more than 10 years. PSALM said it had sent the letter to Amir Hatami Ramsheh, the firm’s president and chief executive officer, and Homayoon Izadi, its treasurer.

Laguna-based Canlubang Sugar Estates had the second-biggest obligation at P517.56 million covering over a 10-year period. PSALM identified those behind the company as Jose Ramon Yulo as president and Jose Quiros as chairman.

Abra Electric Cooperative, Inc. followed with an outstanding obligation amounting to P505.32 million covering a period of more than three years.

The Philippine Economic Zone Authority-Mactan Economic Zone in Cebu has arrears totaling P74.93 million, which it ignored for more than eight years.

Bataan-based Sunrise Paper Production Inc. owes the agency P29.05 million covering more than 15 years.

PSALM did not identify the recipient of the demand letters for the three entities.

Clark Power Corp. has arrears totaling P67.10 million for a period of at least 16 years. The demand letter was sent to Victor Santos, its president.

First Bay Power Corp., through Cesar Reyes, its president, was told to pay P31.36 million for obligations covering a period of more than six years.

PSALM enumerated the others with overdue obligations as:

• Pantabangan local government in Nueva Ecija for the account of the Pantabangan Municipal Electric Services with P38.55 million covering over six-year period. The letter was sent to Pantabangan Mayor Roberto Agdipa.

• Diversified Ecozone Corp. with arrears of P23.32 million for more than 11 years. Demand letter sent to Ramon Garcia Jr., its chairman; Carlos de Castro, president; Cirilo Doronila, corporate secretary.

• Waterfront Airport Hotel and Casino with P8.46 million for more than five years. Letter sent to Kenneth Gatchalian, president; Precilla Toriano, treasurer.

• First Bukidnon Electric Cooperative Inc. with P10.897 million, through Reynaldo Balaba, general manager.

• Isarog Pulp and Paper Co. Inc. in Albay with P5.251 million, through Dennis Villareal, president.

• Maria Cristina Chemicals, Inc. (formerly Platinum Metals Corp.) with P4.99 million, through Rafael Atayde, president.

• Mindanao State University, with P3.313 million, through Dr. Habib Macaayong, president. — Victor V. Saulon