By Chino S. Leyco
State-run Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (PSALM) has sent out final letters of demand for payment to several companies with long-overdue obligations, the Department of Finance (DOF) revealed.
In the final demand letters sent by PSALM President and Chief Executive Officer Irene Besido Garcia and Vice President for Finance Lourdes Alzona, 14 firms were given 10 days from receipt of the demand letters to pay their total arrears amounting to P1.931 billion.
Garcia said PSALM will be constrained to take legal steps against any of the firms that fail to heed the final demand and pay their overdue obligations.
Garcia vowed to run after these companies that failed to settle their arrears with the National Power Corp. (NPC) and PSALM.
“For years, these companies have evaded the collection efforts of NPC and PSALM, causing extreme prejudice and serious damage to PSALM and the government,” Garcia said.
“Under President Duterte’s Administration, there are no sacred cows. We will not hesitate to file cases against these firms and their officers if the arrears are not paid soon. We need to protect electricity consumers who end up subsidizing the cost of these firms’ nonpayment,” she added.
The entities with long-overdue obligations include a hotel, a state university, a local government unit (LGU) and a polyethylene plant.
Their outstanding obligations include, among others, unpaid power bills, deferred accounting adjustments, unpaid automatic cost recovery mechanism charges, value-added taxes (VAT), interest payments and penalty interests, which PSALM has been claiming from them through previous demand letters.
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, who chairs PSALM’s board of directors, and Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, who is ex-officio board member, were furnished copies of the final demand letters.
The NPC Alliance Corp. (NPCAC), a polyethylene plant located at the PAFC Industrial Park in Mariveles, Bataan, has the largest sum of arrears amounting to P611.36 million covering over 10-year period.
The demand letter for NPCAC was addressed by PSALM to the firm’s president-CEO Amir Hatami Ramsheh and its treasurer, Homayoon Izadi.
The Laguna-based Canlubang Sugar Estates (CSE), with Jose Ramon Yulo as president and Jose Quiros as chairman of its board, has an outstanding obligation of P517.56 million covering a period of over 10 years.
PSALM also sent a final demand letter to Abra Electric Cooperative, Inc. with an outstanding obligation amounting to P505.32 million covering a period of over three years.
The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA)-Mactan Economic Zone in Cebu also received a final demand letter for ignoring to pay P74.93 million in arrears covering a period of over eight years.
The Bataan-based Sunrise Paper Production Inc. also received a final demand letter for its long overdue obligation amounting to P29.05 million covering a period of over fifteen years.
Clark Power Corp. (CPC) president Victor Santos also received a final demand letter for the failure of his firm to pay P67.10 million in arrears covering a period of over 16 years, while First Bay Power Corp. (FPBC), represented by its president, Cesar Reyes, was also ordered to pay P31.36 million for obligations covering a period of over six years.