Palawan Electric Cooperative Board of Directors Chairperson Maylene Ballares and General Manager Engr. Rez Contrivida shrugged off calls for them to step down from their respective positions.

The demand for their resignation stemmed from allegations of neglecting their duties, resulting in the current state of the cooperative. Specifically, this includes the withdrawal of subsidies by the Department of Energy (DOE) in the emergency power supply agreement (EPSA) they established with Delta P Inc.

Ballares said that she represents the residents of the First District of Palawan Electric Cooperative (PALECO), emphasizing that she was elected by them and is merely fulfilling the mandate entrusted to her.

“Sino ba ang aking susundin? Yung bumoto sa akin—actually, I am unopposed for two terms. Ako ay na-disqualify pero [the] National Electrification Administration (NEA) qualified me,” she explained.

“And what would be the basis para ako ay bumaba? Am I not doing my job as a Board of Director in District 1? Siguro other than the people who voted for me, walang ibang opinion na akong masasabi,” she added.

Ballares also addressed allegations of corruption regarding her acquisition of a property in the city.

She clarified that the house in question, situated near the public market, has been owned by her family since 1970. They previously operated a grocery store there, which has since closed.

“Anak ako ni mang Juaning del Rio na dati ng negosyante sa palengke. Sarado na kasi yung grocery store. I was born in Narra and we relocated in Puerto Princesa in 1970—that is our family house with business,” she explained referring to Del Rio Store

“But let the accuser find evidence if needed, not me saying anything. The burden of proof is on them,” she said.

Contrivida, on his part, asserted that there is no reason for him to step down as he was not elected to his position.

He stated that his hiring underwent a proper process and emphasized that if they wish to remove him, it should also be done following established procedures.

“Ako ay nag-apply, ako ay nag-qualify, dumaan sa proseso, tinanggap ng board at in-approve ng NEA and that is the process. Kung gusto nila akong tanggalin, may proseso rin yun,” he said.

“Lahat ng bagay may proseso, hindi yung sisigaw-sigawan ka lang na bumaba ka dyan,” he explained.

Contrivida also said that they are still awaiting word on the update regarding the reinstatement of the subsidy removed by the DOE in the EPSA.

He pointed out that the only action required from the DOE is to amend its memorandum circular to align with Republic Act 9163, also known as the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA law), and stipulate that regardless of the form of power supply agreement entered into, as long as it pertains to off-grid areas, it qualifies for subsidy.

During the hearing of the House Committee on Energy, Palawan 2nd District Rep. Jose Alvarez expressed his commitment to finding ways to assist PALECO in engaging with the DOE.

“Sumulat na rin kami kay DOE para humingi ng update kung mababago ba ang circular at naghihintay pa rin kami ng reply,” Contrivida said.