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Marinela Neri Velez: The Kagay-anon Opera Cognoscente as Patroness of Classical Music

July 19, 2019

Marinela Neri Velez is a professional, expert, cognoscente, and aficionado of classical opera. Better known as Girlie to her circle of friends, she has two passions in her life: opera and travel. As a volunteer with the Los Angeles Music Center Opera, she was co-chair of final dress rehearsals. She witnessed the final recitals of opera divas Maria Callasand Renata Tebaldi, and the farewell opera performance of Beverly Sills in Die Fledermaus with Joan Sutherland. Girlie travels constantly for opera: to Washington D.C. for theWorld Premier of Giancarlo Menotti’s GOYA with Plácido Domingo; Tulsa, Oklahoma for the US Premier of Rossini’s ARMIDA, and Kiev, Ukraine for the opera version of TARAS BULBA. While working for the Music Department of Paramount Pictures Corp., she had the opportunity to watch the recording sessions of Barbra Streisand, Diana Ross and Sarah Vaughn; scoring sessions of John Williams, Maurice Jarre and Jerry Goldsmith. On the classical side, she attended concerts conducted byLeonard Bernstein, Carlos Kleiber, Zubin Mehta and Riccardo Muti. Girlie is a regular fixture at Arena de Verona, Torre del Lago Puccini, and Rossini Opera Festival in Italy; Staatsoper unter den Linden in Berlin, Germany,and the Salzburg Festival in Austria. In December, she attends opera performances at Teatro Real in Madrid,and Les Arts Reina Sofia GeneralitatValenciana (Valencia Opera), both in Spain; and the New Year’s Eve Operetta Die Fledermaus and New Year’s Day Concert at Vienna State Opera in Vienna, Austria. Girlie was recently invited to attend a performance of Actéon by Marc-Antoine Charpentier and Pygmalion by Jean-Philippe Rameau at the Royal Opera in Versailles, France. She is the only Filipino member of the International Council and a donor of the Metropolitan Opera in New York, a member of the Amici di Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro, Italy and a benefactor of Opera Atelier in Toronto, Canada. After she retired, Girlie started travelling non-stop and has visited 150 countries. The journey continues to this very day. She plans to visit many more in the future. “She has always been an opera lover just like her parents who introduced her to the world of opera at a young age. It has always been a lifelong passion for her.  She followed this through after her graduation from college and when she left the country to work in the US,” said long time bosom friend Vinny N. Veloso. “In fact, she was present during her favorite tenor, Plácido Domingo's debut shot at the Met 50 years ago,” she added. “She was also back at the Met earlier this year to watch Plácido’s50th Golden Jubilee as a Met performer.” With such a hectic opera schedule, one would surmise she has time for little else outside opera. But what many don’t know is Girlie is an avid patron of classical music for her home city of Cagayan de Oro. On December 4, 2013, the MarinelaNeri Velez String Program was launched at the Lourdes College auditorium, when an announcement was made during Girlie’s December Rhapsody Concert. That night, the famed Manila Symphony Orchestra gave a performance that left the audience begging for more. Girlie donated through the Paterno Velez Foundation (named after her late father) string instruments that included violins, cellos, violas and double basses for the Marinela Neri Velez String Orchestra. The orchestra is a social enterprise and auditioned musically gifted indigent intermediate and high school students from the city’s public schools then trained them to play classical music in a string orchestra.   Initially based at Lourdes College, the orchestra later moved to the alma mater of her late father, the Misamis Oriental General Comprehensive High School to which she also donated a piano for the school’s use and training of musically gifted students.   Subsequently, the orchestra was renamed the Cagayan de Oro Symphony Orchestrain 2018 and is now based at Liceo de Cagayan Universitythrough an arrangement with another music patroness in Liceo, Chair Emerita Rafaelita Pelaez. The orchestra members are trained with the Liceo Music Conservatory of Music, Dance and Theatre under the watchful eye of renowned composer and conductor Horst Hans Backer.   In her latest endeavor, Ms. Velez sponsored A Recital featuring “The Filipino Baritone” Cipriáno Mercádo de Guzmán, Jr. with NAMCYA 2018 finalist Soprano Carmina Lourdes D. Atienza as guest artist with Consuelo M. Escudero at the piano.   Held at the Lambago Hall of N Hotel last July 7th for an exclusive audience of a hundred of Cagayan de Oro’s classical music aficionados, the event was touted as the commencement of a regular season of classical music performances in Cagayan de Oro featuring Cagayan de Oro’s best musicians and visiting maestros as well.   De Guzman is a multi-awarded Filipino Classical singer having won 7 International Vocal Competitions in New York, London, Tokyo, Osaka, Yokohama, and Bangkok. He is a two-time 1st Prize Winner of the 2016 and 2017 American Protégé International Vocal Competition at Carnegie Hall (Weill) in New York City, USA, the first Filipino to win twice in that competition. He has twice been awarded the Ani Ng Dangal (2018 and 2019) Philippine National Arts Recognition) by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (Office of the President of the Philippines) which recognizes Filipino artists for their wins in overseas competitions. Zip finished two Masters Degree in Music: Master Oficicialen Interpretación de Ópera at Conservatori Superior de Música del Liceu in Barcelona, Spain under the tutelage of renowned Baritone Joan Martin-Royo; and Opera Interpretation under renowned Mezzo Soprano Maestra Teresa Berganza. He also finished Master of Music in Vocal Performance with the highest distinction(St. Cecilia Award equivalent to Summa cum Laude)atElisabeth University of Music Japanunder Baritone HiroharuOrikawawith full scholarship grant through the Loyola Memorial Foundation and Japan Association of Catholic Universities. For this recital, we were treated to an awesome demonstration of Zip’s vocal range and linguistics which has made him a multi-awarded vocalist here and abroad, from Bizet’s Toreador, En Garde! (from Carmen); Jurame (a Mexican love song composed y Maria Grever), O Sole Mio (by Eduardo di Capua), Santa Lucia (by Teodoro Cottrau), Agustin Lara’s immortal Granada, Stars(by Claude Michel Schonberg from Les Miserables), I Have Dreamed (from Rogers and Hammerstein’sThe King and I)  and Balikbayan (by Ernani C. Cuenco). Guest artist Carmina Lourdes D. Atienza, all 17 years of her, is a senior high student at Corpus Christi school and also plays violin with the Cagayan de Oro Symphony Orchestra. She started voice lessons in 2012 with Maestro Benjamin Santos and MaestroMarvin Gayramonfrom 2016 to 2017. She next studied classical singing with Maestro Michael Paseno of the Liceo de Cagayan Music Conservatory and recently garnered 3rd prize at the 2018 NAMCYA(National Music Competition for Young Artists). Although she will be a BS Computer Science freshman at the Ateneo de Manila this August, Carmina plans to cross-enroll at University of the Philippines-Dilimanto continue her classical music training. She is the second child of Martin Ch. Atienza and Sheilah del Fierro-Atienza. We were regaled by Carmina with her rendition of Art is Calling for Me (from Victor August Herbert’s 1911 hit operetta The Enchantress); and were in for a treat with her duets with Zip: All I Ask of  You (from Phantom of the Opera) by Andrew Lloyd Weber;  and Lippen Schweigen (from The Merry Widow) by Franz Lehar. For their encore, the pair rendered a trio of Filipino favorites including the immortal Bisayan love song Usahay (recently correctly credited to its original composer the late Gregorio Responso Labja); Ikaw Ang Mahal Ko, a romantic ballad by VST & Co. (penned by songwriter Joey de Leon with music by Tito Sotto andSpanky Rigor) and Mike Velarde’s Dahil Sa Iyo written in 1938 for the movie, Bituing Marikit and sung by the King of the Philippine Movies Rogelio de la Rosa.  So after this Recital, what’s next for Cagayan de Oro Opera Cognoscente? Travels to countries she hasn’t been to yet, and of course, another set of operas to enjoy. August is opera tour time in Europe. The Cagayan de Oro Symphony Orchestra will be recruiting more members from the Cagayan de Oro community for the additional instruments Girlie plans to augment it with. Allizwell!

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The Malasag Indigenous Driftwood Sculptors of Cugman

July 19, 2019

Sometimes serendipity can lead you to paths you never dreamed you would be passing through, but the future often holds surprises which more often than not, exceed your expectations. Thus, when Smart Telecommunications began the process to secure the Free and Prior Informed Consent (FPIC) from the Higaonon community in Sitio Malasag, Barangay Cugman in Cagayan de Oro to renew the lease on their cell site located within the tribe’s ancestral domain, it triggered what has turned out be a most rewarding experience for both parties involved in the transaction. By virtue of Republic Act 8371 (Indigenous People's Rights Act of 1997  or IPRA) which recognizes and promotes the rights of Indigenous Cultural Communities/Indigenous Peoples of the Philippines, Smart was required to secure the consent of the IP community which hosted their 1,000 sq. m. cell site area since it falls within the tribe’s ancestral domain. Following the initial consultation last February, 2019 with the Malasag Higaonon Tribal Council represented by Datu Ireneo Jabiniar (tribal chieftain), Smart signed a Memorandum of Agreement for the renewal of the cell site lease for another 25 years. “As part of the terms and conditions, our council requested Smart to conduct a training in wood carving for our members, as a livelihood project,” said Datu Masikal “Jude” Jabiniar, who site as the appointed 9th kagawad representing IPs in the Cugman Barangay Council. Barangay Cugman has two rivers which provide them with a constant supply of driftwood as raw materials. More driftwood could also be sourced from the barangay’s seashore. After conducting appropriate rituals at the cell site area requesting permission from resident spirits to approve the agreement, 15 Higaonons started training with expert wood carvers Arnel Rebate, Wilfredo Durano and Marichu Calzado from the Banglos Community Artists of General Nakar, Quezon, last May 28-30 for basic skills and assignment of projects; then again on June 27 for finishing and polishing of the completed works. Smart also donated to the community tools such as grinders and sanders.  The Banglos wood sculptors were themselves recipients of Smart’s livelihood assistance, being trained by famed sculptor Rey Paz Contreras who taught them the art of sculpting forest wood as an alternative source of income after their homes were devastated by flash floods following heavy rains caused by Tropical StormWinnie in 2004, killing over a thousand people in  General Nakar, Infanta and Real.  The Banglos sculptors’ works have been featured at the Cultural Center of the Philippines, the Furniture Festival at Megatrade Hall, Go Negosyo fair at Market! Market! in Taguig City and in various Smart functions. The Higaonon artists were taught the basics of driftwood sculpture, how to use the tools of the trade, and how to bring out art from driftwood, based on its natural shape and textures. Aside from being a source of livelihood, the sculptures also aim to showcase Higaonon culture. "A lot of the pieces here have come from wood that no longer had any use - maybe only to be burned for charcoal. The artists have been taught to see the beauty in them and bring this out. We Filipinos, we the katutubo, can also ask ourselves: "Are we charcoal, or are we works of art?"", said Darwin Flores, Head, Community Partnerships Department, Smart - Public Affairs.  One of those who underwent the training was Datu Masikal’s cousin Jeffrey  C. Alia, an industrial electrician by trade, who lives along the seashore of Cugman with his fisherman father. While he has no formal training in the arts, he learned drawing basics from his father Pedro B. Alia whose latent artistic skills enabled him to earn additional income through drawings and printed signs on the side. “I won artistic competitions as grade school student and did automotive drafting in high school but shifted to GRCO due to lack of financial means to finish my automotive,” Alia recalls. Eventually he became a licensed industrial electrician for commercial/industrial buildings, and joined the training during a lull between his projects. “The training revived my interest in the arts, and I was inspired to carve  many wood sculptures,” Alia said. Among the wood sculptures he finished was a  fisherman in his baroto (dugout canoe) inspired by the Recto Bank incident where a Filipino fishing vessel was rammed by a Chinese one. “This shows the fisherman was free to carry on his trade without fear,” Alia explained. Turning to another  of his works, he said the  bird’s nest signifies that birds are still abundant within their ancestral domain. “Every one of my works has a story.” From July 1-6, 2019, the Malasag Indigenous Driftwood Sculptors held the Malasag Sculpture Exhibit at the Sky Park at 5th floor of the SM Cagayan de Oro Downtown Premier in partnership with SM. A  constant partner of Smart for past projects like Earth Hour, SM  provided the exhibit venue, lights and fixtures for the group’s first exhibit. Next, the group plans to display some small sculptures at Ginama, the pasalubong center of LGU Cagayan de Oro at Gaston Park. “Smart plans to continue supporting the tribe by providing capacity building trainings such as social media marketing, mobile photography and ideography,” saidJudee Dizon Chaves, Smart Communications Public Affairs Manager for North-West Mindanao.   Meantime, interested buyers who wish to commission or order some of their works can visit and contact them through their Facebook Page Malasag Indigenous Driftwood Sculptors of Cugman (URL: https://www.facebook.com/Malasag-Indigenous-Driftwood-Sculptors-of-Cugman-472330183554427/) Photos by Mike Baños & Smart Communications Public Affairs for North-West Mindanao.

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MYBL launched in CDO

July 18, 2019

The first-ever MVPSF Youth Basketball League (MYBL) was launched last July 13 in Cagayan de Oro City at the Corpus Christi Gymnasium.   Thirty one teams from different schools of Cagayan de Oro, Bukidnon, Iligan, and Misamis Oriental are competing in the MYBL's three categories : 12-under, 15-under, and 18-under category . City Mayor Oscar S. Moreno expressed his joy and gratitude to the private groups and government organizations which brought this initiative to the city to show support to the youth in the field of sports.   The league was made possible through the collaborative efforts of Manny V. Pangilinan Sports Foundation (MVPSF), Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP), Local Government of Cagayan de Oro City, Cebu Landmasters, Inc., Smart Communications, Inc., Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), Balibago Waterworks System, Inc., CDO Basketball Federation, Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) and Cabinet Officer for Regional Development and Security (CORDS-X). In his message, Atty. Jang Moreno, MVPSF Community, Sports and Youth Development Head, said that Cagayan de Oro was chosen as the venue for the MYBL because of its ideal and strategic location as well as the proliferation of talents and potentials of the aspiring young players in Northern Mindanao. Sidelights to the opening ceremony and launching,   Famous personalities from the Philippine Basketball Association like James Yap, Beau Belga, JV Mocon and PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial mingled the participants in a meet and greet. Also on hand to toss the inaugural jump ball of the fledgling league were SBP Operations Head Butch Antonio and SBP Executive Director Sonny Barrios. MVPSF Youth Basketball league is just one of the numerous programs lined-up by the private sector especially MVP Sports Foundation and the local government to further improve and develop the performance of the region in the field of sports. (CIO)  

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CHALI Resort marks 25

July 16, 2019

“Quality Happens When You Care Enough to do Your Best.”- Ging Chaves Cagayan de Oro’s Iconic CHALI Resort recently celebrated its 25th Anniversary, but it actually started 65 years ago when owner Dodong Chaves was 5 years old, as the first home-grown beach resort in Cagayan de Oro inspired by Jali Beach Resort of the Jalandonis in Cavite. It boasted of a Japanese garden, putting green, and Talisay tree house with cottages for picnics, a couple of cottages and a basketball court. Chali was named after the first syllables of Dong’s parents: his Dad-CHAves and Mom-LIM. “Actually the story of Chali started way back in 1954 with my father Ernesto Chaves and my mother Lolita Lim, but it was only 25 years ago when my wife Ging and I started our dream to revive Chali with no grandiose plan, no feasibility study, no business plan but only our mere instincts and God’s providence. We just wanted to have a piece of paradise out of the small beach front property we have.” Chali was operated by his parents until September 21, 1972 when Martial Law was declared. The property was leased to a third party who continued to use the name CHALI and operated it as a picnic place. Meantime, Dodong, then a medical sales rep married bank employee Ging in 1976, and the couple took over CHALI in 1990 with a bank loan and reopened it in 1994 with the new Tres Marias Restaurant, two function rooms, swimming pool and five cottages. “A cottage for us to rest, a pool to refresh, a horizon to gaze, and our Talisay Tree House for our children to play and enjoy,” was how Dodong described their simple plan. In 1996 they opened their hotel but were hit hard by the Asian Financial Crisis of 1998 and it was touch-and-go for a while. “We opened our doors to our friends, and soon the public. Seems we just slept one night and woke up 25 years with 4 kids, 5 grandchildren, 76 guest rooms and cottages and this grand ballroom and a strong community of 110 employees,” Dodong recalls. Today CHALI has 16 cottages, 60 hotel rooms, seven function rooms, a catering service and new grand ballroom. Tres Marias is next online to undergo a renovation. “I believe this commemoration is a reminder of God’s goodness and we can only sing praises of thanks for the 25 years of happiness and joy, 25 years of making dreams come true, and 25 years of unwavering faith of His Great Plans,” Ging said. “After all we are mere shepherds of God’s flock, willing and eager to simply serve and make him known, loved and honored.” The couple cited their secrets for Chali’s success and longevity: the conjugal partnership of Dong and Ging, God’s Providence, and their children: Vanessa “Vani” married to Benjamin Kelly based in Redondo Beach, Los Angeles with son Esen. Vanni owns an architectural outsourcing business The Redwagon Group (TRG) and Ben is into real estate. John Ernesto “John” married to Lawyer Kristine Yuson, with two daughters Anna and Ally. John owns Cyber Club, Senio Foods and a coach and co-owner of Krossfit Cagayan in Nazareth. Youngest daughter Angela “Angel” is married to Ted Pierre Jalad, and the couple owns their own restaurant Red Tail Shrimps. Not the least, Ma. Theresa “Saz” married to lawyer Eduard Joseph Eullaran, and they have two kids Sienna and Mateo. Besides Chali Resort, Saz also manager their catering service The Cater Company, and  owns Ribs & Bibs Restaurant with partner Chef Rosie B. Peralta. Saz has been at the helm of Chali for the last 17 years and launched Chali as “CHALI RESORT & CONFERENCE CENTER” with a new commercial and logo during the anniversary party. “Let us be grateful to people who make us happy. They are charming gardeners who make our souls blossom,” Saz quoted during her brief thanksgiving talk.  “To our employees, know that this is also your night. You are terrifically tireless, exceptionally excellent, and abundantly appreciated. We are beyond words and we are so blessed to have each and every one of you as part of the Chali family.” “To our valued guests, partners and colleagues in the industry, your support and trust all these years have been our inspiration to keep going. It was and still is a pleasure doing business with you. And being here tonight, giving us your time and presence, is indeed a wonderful anniversary gift.” Dodong summed up the anniversary celebration in behalf of the family. “Today we remember the seeds of our growth. The acquaintances that became life-long friendships. Like that Talisay tree by the beach, Chali just spread her branches, increased her girth, and strengthened her roots.” “So it’s not just a corporate anniversary. It’s an anniversary of a family that grew strong, defying the odds.” “Over our 25 year journey, we have been up and we have been down. Yet we have stood the test of time. We have lost and we have won. We had worries and we had celebrations. The best thing of all was that we have each other to rely on all the time.”

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CHALI Resort marks 25

July 15, 2019

“Quality Happens When You Care Enough to do Your Best.”- Ging Chaves Cagayan de Oro’s Iconic CHALI Resort recently celebrated its 25th Anniversary, but it actually started 65 years ago when owner Dodong Chaves was 5 years old, as the first home-grown beach resort in Cagayan de Oro inspired by Jali Beach Resort of the Jalandonis in Cavite. It boasted of a Japanese garden, putting green, and Talisay tree house with cottages for picnics, a couple of cottages and a basketball court. Chali was named after the first syllables of Dong’s parents: his Dad-CHAves and Mom-LIM. “Actually the story of Chali started way back in 1954 with my father Ernesto Chaves and my mother Lolita Lim, but it was only 25 years ago when my wife Ging and I started our dream to revive Chali with no grandiose plan, no feasibility study, no business plan but only our mere instincts and God’s providence. We just wanted to have a piece of paradise out of the small beach front property we have.” Chali was operated by his parents until September 21, 1972 when Martial Law was declared. The property was leased to a third party who continued to use the name CHALI and operated it as a picnic place. Meantime, Dodong, then a medical sales rep married bank employee Ging in 1976, and the couple took over CHALI in 1990 with a bank loan and reopened it in 1994 with the new Tres Marias Restaurant, two function rooms, swimming pool and five cottages. “A cottage for us to rest, a pool to refresh, a horizon to gaze, and our Talisay Tree House for our children to play and enjoy,” was how Dodong described their simple plan. In 1996 they opened their hotel but were hit hard by the Asian Financial Crisis of 1998 and it was touch-and-go for a while. “We opened our doors to our friends, and soon the public. Seems we just slept one night and woke up 25 years with 4 kids, 5 grandchildren, 76 guest rooms and cottages and this grand ballroom and a strong community of 110 employees,” Dodong recalls. Today CHALI has 16 cottages, 60 hotel rooms, seven function rooms, a catering service and new grand ballroom. Tres Marias is next online to undergo a renovation. “I believe this commemoration is a reminder of God’s goodness and we can only sing praises of thanks for the 25 years of happiness and joy, 25 years of making dreams come true, and 25 years of unwavering faith of His Great Plans,” Ging said. “After all we are mere shepherds of God’s flock, willing and eager to simply serve and make him known, loved and honored.” The couple cited their secrets for Chali’s success and longevity: the conjugal partnership of Dong and Ging, God’s Providence, and their children: Vanessa “Vani” married to Benjamin Kelly based in Redondo Beach, Los Angeles with son Esen. Vanni owns an architectural outsourcing business The Redwagon Group (TRG) and Ben is into real estate. John Ernesto “John” married to Lawyer Kristine Yuson, with two daughters Anna and Ally. John owns Cyber Club, Senio Foods and a coach and co-owner of Krossfit Cagayan in Nazareth. Youngest daughter Angela “Angel” is married to Ted Pierre Jalad, and the couple owns their own restaurant Red Tail Shrimps. Not the least, Ma. Theresa “Saz” married to lawyer Eduard Joseph Eullaran, and they have two kids Sienna and Mateo. Besides Chali Resort, Saz also manager their catering service The Cater Company, and  owns Ribs & Bibs Restaurant with partner Chef Rosie B. Peralta. Saz has been at the helm of Chali for the last 17 years and launched Chali as “CHALI RESORT & CONFERENCE CENTER” with a new commercial and logo during the anniversary party. “Let us be grateful to people who make us happy. They are charming gardeners who make our souls blossom,” Saz quoted during her brief thanksgiving talk.  “To our employees, know that this is also your night. You are terrifically tireless, exceptionally excellent, and abundantly appreciated. We are beyond words and we are so blessed to have each and every one of you as part of the Chali family.” “To our valued guests, partners and colleagues in the industry, your support and trust all these years have been our inspiration to keep going. It was and still is a pleasure doing business with you. And being here tonight, giving us your time and presence, is indeed a wonderful anniversary gift.” Dodong summed up the anniversary celebration in behalf of the family. “Today we remember the seeds of our growth. The acquaintances that became life-long friendships. Like that Talisay tree by the beach, Chali just spread her branches, increased her girth, and strengthened her roots.” “So it’s not just a corporate anniversary. It’s an anniversary of a family that grew strong, defying the odds.” “Over our 25 year journey, we have been up and we have been down. Yet we have stood the test of time. We have lost and we have won. We had worries and we had celebrations. The best thing of all was that we have each other to rely on all the time.”

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Power customers get refunds in electric bills this month

July 15, 2019

Good news in your electricity bills this July. The Energy Regulatory Commission  (E R C) has ordered twelve private distribution utilities (DUs) to refund “regulatory reset cost” to their customers in their electricity bills this July, 2019, including any remaining amount from the previous regulatory period plus interest. Per the ERC, the Regulatory Reset Costs are expenses incurred in engaging regulatory experts or consultants when setting and updating the DU’s electricity rates. Under the Performance-Based Regulation (PBR) methodology, privately-owned DUs are allowed to charge the Regulatory Reset Cost in their revenue requirement. However, ERC noted that "the 17th Congress appropriated funds for purposes of regulatory reset," leaving the collected Regulatory Reset Cost for the 3rd regulatory period untouched. "The Commission is of the view that the cost of regulation should be at the expense of the government and should not be a burden to the electricity consumers... [T]he Commission deems it prudent to refund the amounts collected by DUs for this purpose," ERC chair Agnes Devanadera said in a statement last week. Among those  ordered to refund their customers are the four private DUs in Mindanao: Cagayan Electric Power and Light Co. (CEPALCO); Cotabato Light and Power Co. (CLPC); Davao Light and Power Co. (DLPC); and Iligan Light and Power, Inc. (ILPI). “This is a one-time refund to be effected in the July 2019 billing,” said Rolando J. Linaac, ILPI Finance Officer. “For ILPI, the amount to be refunded to our customers is P 558,830.00 equivalent to P .0274 per kilowatt hour(/KwH).” “This represents the unutilized fund for regulatory reset cost in relation to the Performance Based Rate (PBR) Making, which the ERC subsequently resolved shall be borne by the government. The reset cost was part of the rates granted to Private DUs years back, hence, this refund,” he noted. ILPI President Ralph B. Casiño acknowledged receipt of the ERC order and said ILPI would comply. “We got our order a few days ago and ILPI will comply,” Casino said. “The cost was tucked into the rates but for some reason, the reset schedule was delayed, thus the refund.” The ERC ordered eight more DUs in Luzon and the Visayas to refund a total of  P20.8 million to their customers July billings, ranging from P0.0058 to P0.0694./KwH. These include Cabanatuan Electric Corporation (CELCOR); Clark Electric Distribution Corporation (CEDC); Dagupan Electric Power Corp. (DECORP); La Union Electric Company (LUECO); San Fernando Electric Light & Power Co. (SFELAPCO); Tarlac Electric, Inc. (TEI) in Luzon and the  Bohol Light Company, Inc. (BLCI); and Visayan Electric Company (VECO) in the Visayas. Among the Mindanao DUs, CEPALCO was mandated to refund the highest amount at P5,098,534 or P0.0556/kWh; followed by Cotabato Light and Power Co. with P949,743 or P0.0694/kWh; Iligan Light and Power Co. — P558,830 or P0.0274/kWh; and Davao Light and Power Co., P262,640 pr P0.0013/kWh The ERC said the total regulatory reset cost refund to ratepayers was approximately P284,727,996 – including the amount previously ordered refunded to Meralco subscribers. The ERC reiterated that the DUs must reflect the one-time refund in their customers’ billings for July – and should be specified as a separate item in their electric bills.  “We enjoin the privately-owned DUs to submit a report to the Commission on their compliance with our refund directive on or before 15 August 2019,” Devanadera said. The ERC has advised power consumers of private DUs to check their electricity bills next month and find out if the regulatory reset cost refund has been effected, including any relevant interest earned thereon. The consumer advocacy group Laban Konsyumer Inc. has welcomed the ERC directive. “Laban Konsyumer Inc. notes that these reduction in electricity rates are good for all types of consumers,” Laban Konsyumer president Victorio Dimagiba said in a statement. “While in small amounts, the reduction when added up should bring electricity rates lower for all of us,” he added. (with online reports)

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