Marcos vetoes bill expanding Davao Light and Power franchise

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 28) — Another proposed law was vetoed by the president, this time on grounds of possible encroachment to an existing franchise area of a power distribution utility in Mindanao

In a veto message sent to Congress, President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. said he vetoed the bill to expand the franchise area of Aboitiz-owned Davao Light and Power Company (DLPC) as it may be legally challenged.

He cited the "apparent overlap and possible infringement into the subsisting franchise, permits, and contracts previously granted to North Davao Electric Cooperative Inc."

Marcos noted that the franchise of North Davao Electric Cooperative Inc. (Nordeco) will still be in effect until 2033.

A copy of the veto message released to the media on Thursday stated that the bill runs counter to the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) which states that "all existing franchises shall be allowed to their full term."

Marcos described the measure as a "collateral attack" on the Nordeco franchise.

DLPC is the third largest distribution utility, next to Manila Electric Company and Visayan Electric Company, which is also owned by Aboitiz.

In a separate statement, the Philippine Rural Electric Cooperatives Association (Philreca), the nationwide group of electric cooperatives, said it "unequivocally opposed" the bill for the same reasons.

The law "is very clear that no franchise for service shall be granted to any other person within any area or portion for which a cooperative holds a franchise," Philreca said in its letter to the president.

Marcos also vetoed the proposed Bulacan Airport City Special Economic Zone and Freeport Bill.

Last week, he also thumbed down the bill strengthening the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel.