Officials of the Palawan Electric Cooperative (PALECO) have vowed to face the civil suit filed by the city government.

PALECO board chairman Jeffrey Tan-Endriga said that they have initially consulted the matter to their legal counsel while waiting to receive their copy of the lawsuit.

“We already talked to our legal counsel para at least masagot itong kasong ito. Everybody is entitled to do this kind of action. We believe that this action from the city government, on their side ay karapatan nila ‘yon. But on our side ay kailangan din natin ipakita at ipaalam sa husgado kung ano ba talaga ang nangyari at kung ano ba talaga ang sumasaklaw sa atin,” Endriga said Wednesday in a press conference.

Endriga did not explain in details what were discussed with their lawyer, but said the city government’s move “must be respected”.

However, he said that it confuses them that city officials do not know what is happening in PALECO.

“Nalilito lang tayo kung bakit sinasabi na lack of information at sinasabi na di nabibigyan ng sapat na information ang ating mga leaders from the local government. Siguro hintayin na lang natin ang sagot ng ating legal counsel,” Endriga said.

Engr. Nelson Lalas, PALECO project supervisor and acting general manager, also added that the filing of the case is normal on the part of city government.

Lalas said that PALECO and the independent power producers (IPPs) are doing everything they can to resolve the power interruptions in the city and province.

“We have to respect that filed case and to me that’s really normal, because of the fact that even us in PALECO, kami rin ay walang hinto sa pag-asikaso to reduce ‘yong tinatawag natin na power interruptions that we are experiencing. I just would like to emphasize that not only PALECO but even our power provider. We have constant meetings, and in fact, two or three weeks ago before this filed case, we attended a Sangguniang Panlungsod [question hour],” Lalas said.

Due to the frequent occurrence of power interruptions experienced in Puerto Princesa, the city government moved to file a civil case against PALECO on Monday.

The lawsuit is claiming P1 million for damaged appliances of residents, said city administrator and legal officer Atty. Arnel Pedrosa.

Endriga said that PALECO is more than willing to recompense anyone whose appliances were destroyed because of the power interruptions

Complaints regarding this, he explained, will have to be filed before the PALECO which will submit it to the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) based on standard operating procedures.

“Yong nasira ang appliances due to blackouts o patay-sindi, kung maaalala niyo dati sa previous press conference, hinintay nga natin kung ano ‘yong apektado, idi-determine pa natin ‘yan at since we are regulated by some government agencies, i-apply pa natin ‘yon sa ERC so may mga proseso na pagdaraanan,” he said.

Lalas, however, said he does not think that the power interruptions will destroy appliances, pointing out that homes have safety switches.

In any case, he said that PALECO is ready to pay for damages if it can be proven appliances were indeed destroyed due to the power outages.

“As far sa tinatawag natin na damages, ‘yong mga appliances because of these power interruptions, I don’t think that appliances will be damaged. Unang-una, ang bawat bahay or any tinatawag natin na mga commercial o industrial are equipped with protection, maliban lang siguro kung ang bahay ay walang safety switch o nilagyan, na-bypass niya,” Lalas said.

Lalas emphasized that they do inspections for damaged appliances and they will pay if it is due to their negligence.

“I just would like to emphasize na this instance, ini-inspection namin ‘yan kung ano ‘yong nasirang appliances, pupuntahan namin then after inspection sasabihin namin ang kaukulan na babayaran namin pero if it’s not our negligence, of course, di namin ano ‘yan [babayaran],” Lalas added.