Consumer group backs PACC’s graft raps vs. NEA chief

Consumer group backs PACC’s graft raps vs. NEA chief

CEBU CITY – A consumer group based in Visayas and Mindanao has advised National Electrification Administration (NEA) chief Edgardo Masongsong to face his graft charges before the Ombudsman (OMB), instead of calling it “baseless and malicious”.

Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) chairman Greco Belgica last week charged Masongsong with violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and Omnibus Election Code for allegedly allowing electric cooperatives to contribute funds for a party-list campaign in the 2019 elections.

The group, Carriers Utilities Consumers Alliance Inc.-No to Excessive Authority-Alliance of Dissatisfied Consumer Movement (CUCA Inc.-Nea-Adcom) released a statement on Thursday saying that Masongsong violated anti-graft practices and election laws by allowing the use of electric cooperatives’ funds for an election campaign.

Jake Harrison Yap of the group’s Cebu and Bohol chapter, Roy Cordova of Negros Island, Engr. Armando Kee of Central Mindanao, Julius Amper of Davao Regions, Bert Tito Pal of Caraga Region, and Leo Serafin Candil of Zamboanga City issued the statement in support of PACC chairman Greco Belgica’s decision to elevate the case before the OMB.

“We are the complainants to the case before the Office of the Ombudsman by the (PACC) against (NEA) Administrator Edgardo Masongsong. And we feel insulted when we learned of the respondent’s media response to the PACC’s move, calling it “baseless and malicious”,” their statement read.

PACC alleged that electric cooperatives issued board resolutions authorizing the use of funds for Philippine Rural Electric Cooperatives Association’s (Philreca) bid for a party-list seat in 2019 polls, now occupied by Rep. Presley de Jesus.

De Jesus is also facing charges of violating the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (Republic Act 3019) filed by the National Association of Electricity Consumers for Reforms Inc. before the Ombudsman for holding on to his post as president of a local electric cooperative while already a member of Congress.

Masongsong, the commission said, did not object to the provisions of the board resolutions despite a law prohibiting persons operating a public utility from contributing funds for partisan politics.

In a statement posted on the NEA website on May 13, Masongsong refuted the allegations as “baseless and malicious”.

He assured that no public funds were used to finance the campaign of the Philreca party-list during the 2019 elections. He added that this matter can easily be verified from the records of the NEA. (PNA)

By Ma. Teresa Montemayor May 21, 2021, 2:00 pmShare

(File photo)

MANILA – The seven-day average of new Covid-19 cases in the National Capital Region (NCR) decreased by 25 percent to 1,299, the OCTA Research said Friday.

In its latest monitoring report, the OCTA research group also reported the reproduction number in the NCR was 0.54. The reproduction number is used to describe the number of people who can get the virus from a Covid-19 positive person.

The figures were recorded from May 14 to 20.

During the surge in Covid-19 cases the past two months, the NCR reported the most number of cases among regions nationwide.

Due to the rise in cases then, the government placed the NCR and its nearby provinces, Bulacan, Laguna, Cavite and Rizal under enhanced community quarantine anew, the strictest among movement restrictions.

The quarantine restrictions bore fruit, as the region saw a gradual decline in new cases.

The weekly positivity rate in the NCR was 11 percent while the healthcare utilization rate (HCUR) in the region was considered safe at 48 percent.

Over the same period, nine local government units (LGUs) in NCR were classified under the moderate risk category.

According to the Department of Health, an LGU is considered of moderate risk if it has an average daily attack rate (ADAR) of less than 10 per 100,000 population while an LGU with an ADAR greater than 10 is considered high risk.

LGUs in the NCR considered of moderate risk include Navotas, Malabon, Caloocan, Manila, Pasay, Muntinlupa, Taguig, Valenzuela and Quezon City.

Meanwhile, the LGUs within the NCR Plus bubble considered of moderate risk include Antipolo, Dasmariñas, Bacoor and Imus.

A significant growth rate in the number of new Covid-19 cases was observed in Cagayan de Oro at 43 percent, Bacolod at 37 percent, Iloilo City at 69 percent, Cabuyao (Laguna) at 37 percent and San Pablo (Laguna) at 29 percent.

Although Zamboanga City’s upward trend has slowed down, it remains second in the most number of new cases at 163, next to Quezon City with 312 new cases.

HCUR remained high in Zamboanga City at 74 percent, Cagayan de Oro at 75 percent, Baguio City at 79 percent, Dasmariñas at 76 percent, Tuguegarao at 71 percent and San Pablo 76 percent, while HCUR was at critical level in General Trias at 96 percent.

The positivity rate in Puerto Princesa also remained extremely high at 87 percent over the past week. John Rey Saavedra / PNA –