SP denies Cepalco bid for DENR power line permit

MALAYBALAY CITY (Bukidnon News.Net/ 09 November) The Bukidnon Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) denied on its November 7 regular session the request by Cagayan Electric Power and Light Company Inc. (Cepalco) for a Certificate of No Objection due to the latter’s refusal to pay real property taxes and obtain a local business permit.

The certificate is a requirement they need to submit to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Community Environment and Natural Resources Office in Manolo Fortich in their application for a permit to install a 400-concrete pole 34.5 kilovolt transmission line.

Cepalco is buying power from First Gen Bukidnon Power Corporation (FGBPC) for distribution in Cagayan de Oro.

The transmission line will connect power from FGBPC’s hydroelectric power plant in Brgy. Damilag to Cepalco’s tapping facility in Brgy. Alae, also in Manolo Fortich town, according to Cepalco’s August 13, 2012 letter to the provincial board.

Board member Jay Albarece, chair of the SP committee on laws, told Bukidnon News Wednesday the power distribution firm has to clarify its stand on the provincial government’s collection of real property taxes and in the requirement to obtain a local business permit for the transmission line.

He said they resist payment citing that the poles are not “real property” for taxation. He added that Cepalco also refused to obtain a business permit.

“Dili sila mubayad sa business permit kay transmission line lang ang ilang ginabuhat og dili distribution,” (They will not obtain a business permit because they are only installing a transmission line and not a distribution line) Albarece added.

But Albarece said the First Bukidnon Electric Cooperative (Fibeco) and the Second Bukidnon Electric Cooperative (Buseco) are paying real property taxes for the same materials to the provincial government.

Cepalco insist they don’t need to pay as no business takes place in their power lines.

Engr. Bonifacio A. Rana, Jr., head of Cepalco’s Line Planning and Management Department Engineering Services Division, told Bukidnon News via telephone Friday morning that they haven’t received a notice disapproving their request.

Rana admitted that they refused to pay the taxes and obtain permit because they believe that they don’t do business when they build the transmission lines from Damilag to Alae.

He said they don’t need to pay citing existing laws as basis.

“Even (in) other areas like Cagayan de Oro, we never paid for the taxes and the permit”, he said.

Rana said the poles are not considered real property “because they are not permanent structures.” Cepalco, he added, may opt to remove or relocate the poles.

He said they are willing to pay, if necessary, provided they are given valid explanation citing existing laws.

Albarece stressed that Cepalco needed to clarify their position on the matter before they could resume construction of the project.

He said the provincial board eyes to pass a resolution to stop Cepalco from proceeding until the issue is resolved.

Rana said they will seek audience with the provincial board on the matter. (Rogielane Arombo/Bukidnon News.Net)