A significant milestone was celebrated by the First Catanduanes Electric Co-operative, Inc. (Ficelco) for its 50th Foundation Day anniversary on October 27, 2021. To the board of directors, the general manager and all the electric co-operative workers, may you have the resolute will to bring about optimal power service to the community.
My ardent wish has always been for the Ficelco to serve as a catalyst for the sustained path to progress of our small part of the Philippine archipelago.
During my early years in business, I seized on an exciting Philippine government rural electrification program patterned after the U.S. model. At age 25, I started to organize electrification districts in the five original municipalities of Virac, San Andres, Bato, Baras and San Miguel.( Later on, Viga, Panganiban and Bagamanoc were constituted as the 6th district, while Caramoran and Pandan made up the 7th district). Each district was represented by a director to serve as member of the board of directors of Ficelco. I was elected the first president of the board of directors and we registered the incorporation papers with the National Electrification Administration. Upon approval of the charter and the initial loan application, a signing ceremony was held at the provincial capitol of Catanduanes with the chairman of the National Electrification Administration Board of Administrators, Ramon Ravanzo, Malacanang Executive Secretary Alejandro Melchor on behalf of President Ferdinand Marcos and me as founder and president of the board of directors of Ficelco signing the full documentation. NEA Administrator Pedro Dumol and Catanduanes Governor Vicente Alberto stood as witnesses.
Then came the hard work—taking over the government-operated Magsaysay Electric Distribution System in Virac and Bato, the municipal electric system in San Andres, soliciting right-of-way easements for electric poles, site acquisition, construction of headquarters facilities, installation of power generating equipment, stringing transmission and distribution lines on mountainous terrain, re-orientation of electric consumers into the new business practices, membership drives, keeping up with antiquated and rundown power generators. The preceding list is just a sampling of the myriad undertakings of a power utility company. As a reward for our efforts, nothing beats the bright smiles on the faces of barrio folks relishing their first taste of electricity at the flick of a switch.
As they say…the rest is history. As a side note, it seems nobody at Ficelco thought about looking up the co-op charter to be reminded of our roots and finding out that the founder and first president of board of directors (and later as general manager) of Ficelco is still alive and well. Not a word from anyone of them. Incidentally, your late dad, Pareng Indo, also served as president of the board of directors very ably.