Defensor questions PSALM’s resistance


ILOILO – If everything is above board, why is the Power Sector, Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation adamant in not revealing the names of its Bids and Awards Committee who are responsible in the awarding of P87.2-million oil spill clean-up contract to Kuan Yu Global Technologies Inc.?

Governor Arthur Defensor Sr. raised this question on Thursday during his regular press conference.  

Defensor repeatedly asked PSALM President and Chief Executive Officer Emmanuel Ledesma Jr. to give him the list of the members of the BAC concerned but to no avail.

“Instead, they replied by asking my intention. So I frankly told them that I need the names for I will file the necessary criminal, civil or administrative complaint against them since I strongly believe that their bidding was highly irregular,” he stressed.

Aside from the list of names, he also requested PSALM to provide him the copy of BAC’s minutes of meeting and the same was not granted. Despite the refusal, the governor remained enthusiastic that he could obtain those two public documents.

“I will not back off. If I cannot have those before October 9, I will make a strong representation before the Committee on Energy chaired by Representative Reynaldo Umali (2nd District, Oriental Mindoro) to issue a subpoena duces tecum,” he said.

The House of Representative’s Committee on Energy will be in Iloilo on October 9 to hold a public hearing on the alleged irregularities in the bidding of the oil spill clean-up in Estancia.

The Contractor

PSALM hired Kuan Yu to conduct the clean-up and salvage operation of Power Barge 103. Its poor performance, however, frustrates the governor as well as the chief executives of the towns affected.

According to him, PSALM awarded the contract to Kuan Yu without post qualification.

He also noted that the contractor won two hours after the first bidding, held past 6:00 pm, failed.

“A contract, as big as this, only went to a contractor with no experience and capability. They have no equipment or machineries, we can’t find their office and the people they sent here have no expertise,” he said.

Kuan Yu’s authorized capital stock was only P1-million, its subscribed capital stock was P250,000 and its paid-up capital was P60,000.

Before Kuan Yu revised its articles of incorporation in 2012, the company was originally known as Maxx Ionized Alkaline Water Inc., a franchiser of purified water refilling stations.

The Oil Spill

The oil spill off the coast of Estancia happened at the height of Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) on November 8, 2013. It was caused by the Power Barge 103, a 32-megawatt generating barge operated and maintained by the National Power Corporation for PSALM.

At that time, the barge contained 1,448,570 liters of bunker C fuel. When huge waves and violent winds trust the vessel towards the rocks, its bottom hull was punctured and about 893,920 litters of bunker fuel spilled into the waters of Barangay Botongon in Estancia.

The oil then spread ashore and contaminated other coastal villages – Daan Banwa, Tanza, and Jolog in Estancia; Embarcadero, Salong, Banban, Alinsulong, and Tanao in Batad; Odiongan in San Dionisio; and Taluto-an in Concepcion.

In Botongon alone, the oil spill affected the lives of 647 families composing 2,763 individuals. Most of the affected families were dependent on fishing as a source of food and income.#2014News

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