A team of 14 personnel has been sent by the First Catanduanes Electric Cooperative, Inc. (FICELCO) to the province of Bohol to assist in the rehabilitation of power lines following the devastation wrought by typhoon Odette two weeks ago.
Last Monday, Dec. 27, 2021, the team composed of engineers, linemen, drivers and support personnel left the island on board a ferry bound for Sorsogon where it would link up with four other teams.
Also sending their own teams are Albay Power and Energy Corp. (APEC), Camarines Sur Electric Cooperative I (CASURECO I), CASURECO II, CASURECO IV, Sorsogon Electric Cooperative I and II, and Camarines Norte Electric Cooperative (CANORECO).
Of the Bicol co-ops, only those from Masbate – TISELCO and MASELCO – are not sending teams as they are still recovering from the damage wrought by typhoon Jolina last September 2021.
Instead, it would send two linemen to augment FICELCO’s team.
The Bicol Electric Cooperative Association (BECA) organized the region’s contingent to the Task Force Kapatid mobilized by the National Electrification Administration to assist some of the 27 cooperatives in the 11 regions in Visayas and Mindanao who were affected by the typhoon’s 220-kph winds.
FICELCO General Manager Engr. Raul Zafe told the Tribune that of the 17 personnel, three will assist the team during the travel and delegate work responsibilities before returning to Catanduanes once the team is safely in Jagna town, Bohol.
The municipality is within the service area of Bohol Electric Cooperative II (BOHECO II), which was among the cooperatives from Visayas which assisted FICELCO during past typhoons that hit Catanduanes.
FICELCO’s personnel will be on board a van while only the drivers will be on the boom truck with man lift and a mini-boom truck.
Both of the trucks will be carrying relief goods being sent by at least two civic groups to selected municipalities in the typhoon-hit region.
Once the team arrives at the headquarters of SORECO I in Irosin town, it will wait for the other teams.
Rather than travel through the congested Matnog-Allen RORO route, the Bicol contingent has decided to board the ferry at Pilar, Sorsogon to Masbate City.
From Masbate’s capital, the convoy will go to Cataingan 81 kilometers away where they will board another ferry directly to Cebu and then another sea journey to Bohol.
In a Zoom meeting presided over by FICELCO Board President Dir. Rodolfo Vargas last Dec. 23, BECA deemed it prudent to seek the assistance of NEA in ensuring the teams’ unimpeded travel to Bohol, particularly priority boarding on RORO vessels.
During the same meeting, GM Zafe said that the cooperative will not be able to give any cash assistance to the typhoon-hit cooperatives in Bohol as FICELCO remains “financially dislocated” due to the heavy damage sustained during super typhoon Rolly last year.
Majority of the suppliers of line hardware and materials, including posts, electric meters, wires and bolts, have yet to receive payment, he disclosed.
He emphasized that the team’s deployment to Bohol is a sign of gratitude on the part of FICELCO for the invaluable assistance provided by Visayas electric cooperatives, including BOHECO I and II, without whom Catanduanes would not have been energized in just a few months.
Zafe bared that it is also in compliance with the instructions of the Department of Energy (DOE) and NEA as well as the Philippine Rural Electric Cooperatives Association (PhilRECA).
The team headed to Jagna will be composed of a foreman, two drivers, a mechanic, a cook and nine linemen, with three technical personnel led by Engr. Joe Neil Tuzon to supervise the travel arrangements and leave before or after New Year’s Day once the team has settled in.
To stay until Jan. 9, 2022 are maintenance foreman Florencio Tabuzo, linemen Sammy Romero, Anthony Tablate, Michael Angelo Pereyra, Francis Cea, Amando Soriao Jr., Carlo Joseph Panti and Gerald Pante, drivers Jayson Torzar and Archie Aquino, calibrator Michael Guerrero and mechanic Dante Tabuzo.
Aside from Engr. Tuzon, the other two personnel who will stay until Jan. 3 are stakeman Larry Sebastian and driver Franklin Sebastian.