The PENELCO Franchise Area: Bataan – Historical and Geographical Profile

PENINSULA ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE, INC. is located in Bataan, a province that was organized by Governor Pedro Manuel Aranda in 1754. The province has the distinction of occupying a place in world history because of its significance during World War II. The Untied States Military forces retreated to Bataan when the Japanese invasion of the Philippines seemed imminent in 1941. The “Fall of Bataan” on April 9, 1942 was broadcast all over the world, and so with the infamous “Death March” that claimed so many soldiers’ lives.

            Chronicled reports revealed that Bataan used to be called Vatan (word coined by settlers during the Madjapahit Empire immediately before 1565) and was originally part of the vast Capampangan Empire comprising what are now known as the provinces of Tarlac, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija and some parts of Bulacan, Zambales and Pangasinan. The coastal villages were inhabited by natives who were predominantly fishermen, farmers, and craftsmen.

            The early mountain settlers were the Aetas or Negritoes whose descendants still dwell in the area today. Later, the Chinese traders came along. Limahong, the famous Chinese pirate, landed in Mariveles.

The province of Bataan is bounded by Manila Bay in the East, by the channel entrance to Manila Bay in the South, by the China Sea by the provinces of Zambales and Pampanga in the North. It is about 52 kilometers long, and some 32 kilometers at its widest.  Its total land area is approximately 1,373 square kilometers.  It experiences rainy season from May to October, and dry months from November to April.

            The most prominent geographic features of the Province are Mt. Natib (Elev. 1253 meters) in the north, Mt. Samat (Elev: 553 meters) in the middle, and Mt. Mariveles (Elev: 1388 meters) near the southern tip of the province, all part of a single mountain range that runs generally north-south in the middle of the peninsula.  Mt. Natib dominates the terrain in the northern part of the province, which is heavily wooded and cut by many deep ravines, except for a narrow coastal strip in the east between the municipalities of Hermosa and Orion.  Good sand beaches are found along the western shores of the province.


            Some 5.0 kilometers off the southern tip of the peninsula lies the Island of Coregidor of World War II fame, another popular tourist attraction which, together with three smaller islands, dominate the 16.0 kilometers wide entrance into the Bay.

The province has a population of 662,153 as per August 1, 2007 census. Its major products are rice, corn, fruits, root crops, vegetables, fish, livestock and poultry items, supplemented by aqua culture harvests, agribusiness and forest development.

1990-1993: A Period of Restoration, Recovery, Reinforcement and Revitalization

Due to self-inflicted  problems in operations and management during the 80’s, BATELCO’s dismal performance was concluded by bankruptcy and brought to end in its corporate dissolution. Thus, PENELCO was conceived. On April 10, 1990, under the rules of PD 269, the Peninsula Electric Cooperative, Inc. was officially incorporated and registered with NEA. The Interim Board of Directors were Cecilia Banzon, President; Antonio Mendoza, Vice President; Estrella dela Rosa, Secretary; Violeta Diaz, Treasurer; Msgr. Renato Manansala, Almario Rubia and Reinerio dela Fuente. Like an infant, PENELCO opened its eyes saw the whole new life, experienced the adventure of its firsts, challenged the whole nation and people around, visualized its dreams; its voyage started, aiming high, moving upwards towards the journey of energization and lighting the whole province of Bataan.

NEA conceptualized and brought together experts who will help and lead the coop towards its success. Engr. Edgardo R. Piamonte headed the Management team of PENELCO with Mr. Nicholas A. Bergantin for Institutional Development, Mr. Efren Gungon for Finance, Engr. Edgar de Guzman for Engineering, Engr. Jimmy Sacramento Area Manager for Dinalupihan, Hermosa, Orani and Samal, Engr. Loreto Marcelino Area Manager for Balanga and Abucay, Engr. Faustino Bernal Area Manager for Limay and Mariveles and a host of NEA specialists to guide, lead and uphold the morale of the new set of employees. They facilitated information dissemination, created public fora among different groups and emphasized the vital role of every Bataeño, encouraged full support by member-consumers, provincial and local officials for the success of PENELCO.

The team knew that PENELCO was in a tight spot, aggravated by the serious problems inherited from BATELCO. This reality did not shake-off the Cooperative’s determination. It drew plans, instituted systems and procedures to effect increase in collection rate and eliminate illegal use of lines; formulate strategies to carry out massive collection, rehabilitation of lines, inspection of KWH meters, installation of transformer protective device, apprehension/disconnection of pilferers.

            The team made ways to improve coop’s services in order to regain member-consumers’ trust. Other endeavors were undertaken such as the right of way clearing, replacement of overload distribution transformers, upgrading of primary lines, installation of capacitors, balancing of feeder load, computerization of bills, organizing more Barangay Power Associations, conducting seminars for employees and member-consumers and publishing the “ULAT KOOPERATIBA” to be an informative publication regarding projects and events about the cooperative, as well as various facets of life.

            PENELCO management staff and employees were set on achieving the organization’s goals in no time the cooperative had seen drastic changes – collection efficiency had improved, systems loss dropped, house connections and membership increased, expansion projects were carried-out leading to energization of various barangays and other areas in Bataan; yet it never stopped and was not contented on its meager achievements because the team believed that it could be better and soon be the best. Everyone contributed with the definite recovery of PENELCO .

            PENELCO was awarded on August 1991 as the “Most Improved Cooperative of the Year”. The recognition inspired the employees, management and Board to continue the journey in corporate excellence. The succeeding months however, were not as easy as it seemed, PENELCO was affected with the nationwide crisis and many calamities that challenged the newly found strength and determination of the team.

            Three years period under the leadership of Engr. Piamonte was a period of restoration, recovery, reinforcement and revitalization. A success by NEA over the PENELCO operation will rewrite the history of the REC’s. If that happens, PENELCO is indeed, a storybook.” And so the story goes on…


Stage of learning, goal setting, aspiring and realizing dreams

PENELCO had served the public but not the entire Bataeños. It made initial achievements but not big enough to be recognized and be looked up to.

            The management believed that it was never wrong to dream big and aim for excellence as long as it is for the good of all. The coop’s goal was high, way beyond the “pwede na” mentality of having a job done. PENELCO pursued excellence in every way it does. It capitalized on talents of people, those who would co-create strategies in pursuing the organization’s dreams.

            On September 1, 1993, another man was designated to walk the path of the cooperative to its vision. Engr. Loreto A. Marcelino was called to steer the workforce. With him as leader-manager and Engr. Piamonte retained as the co-op’s adviser, officials and employees of PENELCO began their journey to pursue corporate excellence.

            With the daunting tasks and the challenge not to fall along the roadmap it draws, PENELCO continued to implement its activities and projects. From the average systems loss of 23.94% in the year 1993 it went down to 11.68% for the year 1999.

            The untiring efforts of the technical and field personnel in house to house inspection and line rehabilitation resulted in a continuous drop of systems loss. The peso equivalent in savings benefited the member consumers through lower rates thus, subsidizing NPC power rate increases.

            Adapting to new technologies is also a measure of importing service efficiency, thus it acquired high technology communication devices, equipment and computers with internet connection.

Barangay Power Association (BAPA) grew; as of December 31, 1999 the cooperative had 207 operational BAPAs compared to seven in 1990.

            On August 12, 1994, a Memorandum of Agreement between the Government of the province of Bataan and the president of the National Power Corporation facilitated the energization of 31 barangays and sitios. A financial assistance of P12.67M to PENELCO enabled the remaining areas under its franchise to have access to electricity.

            On April 1997, PENELCO attained a breakthrough in province-wide area coverage electrification. Bataan was declared to be the first province in the country being fully energized all its barangays. In its seven years of service to the people, PENELCO fulfilled the vision of total electrification at barangay level.

            PENELCO is an organization of people committed in working for the people. Because of the access to electricity it brought to every Bataeño, the people behind its achievements were also granted more benefits. Aside from the continuous development of its people through various seminars, it also developed various activities aimed at imbibing a sense of camaraderie and solidarity that would enlighten their spirits, cultivate their talents, strengthen the physical vigor and instill a sense of responsibility in order to stylize a healthy way of living.

            The moral fiber sewn through each individual thread brought life to an emerging fine looking and exquisite works of PENELCO. The cooperative is in a continuous effort of goal setting, achieving, realizing an objective feat, aspiring and targeting its highest aims. Its aim is high and everyone is moving towards that point.

2000-2009 (The realization of various possibilities; the opening of boundless opportunities)

PENELCO looked upon the millennium as another opportunity to prove itself.  It has come to prove that everything is possible. Every challenge is treated as a potential seed of success.

For the year 2001, PENELCO has already paid an advance amortization of Php 8-M to the National Electrification Administration. The advance payment of PENELCO for the previous years accumulated to Php 146.6 M had been applied to PENELCO outstanding loans, resulting to its full payment up to January 31, 2001. PENELCO assumed the loans of BATELCO, which has reached Php 260 M, excluding the Php 9.3 M loan overdraft. After applying some portion of the Coop’s advances to BATELCO loan, a total balance of Php 100.4 M has been left.

The coop acquired lots where it constructed and energized new substations and erected service centers in each town of the province. It continued the rehabilitation and maintenance projects on poles, service lines and substations which contributed in maintaining the intact flow and steady supply of electricity in the entire province.  Today, the coop is making improvements on its main office, where the hub of its ambitions and aspirations dwell.  To ensure faster, more secured and reliable maintenance and inquiry of consumer’s readings and billing records it implemented the Meter Reading Management System (MRMS) or full automation of the Meter Reading Section- from KWH reading, billing and data management. PENELCO is gearing up towards the latest modernization which will help in meeting its targets and goals in the future.

                It was only in the year 2002, after 12 years of service that, The National Electrification Commission (NEC), in its session on November 29, 2002 rendered its decision regarding the application of PENELCO for a permanent franchise to operate electric services in the whole province of Bataan, for a period of fifty (50) years retroactive to the date of its registration with NEA on April 10, 1990   until   April 9, 2040. This is an important document and a notable event that is crucial to the voyage of PENELCO especially for the coming years. It was also in this year that PENELCO attained a single digit of 9.86% systems loss. To date, PENELCO is striving hard and making ways to further reduce its system loss through systems mapping and house to house inspection in order to target the areas of concentration. Moreover, it has also done collective efforts to further increase the collection efficiency of the coop. The hard slog struggle of everyone through the heat of the sun and changing weather conditions is crucial to what it will become tomorrow.

With all the achievements, non-stop rise, growth and development of PENELCO, it never ceases to help and give unselfish assistance to other areas and cooperatives that needs its support. In September 2001, PENELCO extended financial help through the intercession of Fr. Francisco G. Silva for the immediate rehabilitation of CENPELCO. On May 11, 2006 when Oriental Mindoro was hit by typhoon Caloy, PENELCO was chosen by NEA as one of the leading coops to support the OPLAN-CALOY in ORMECO. Likewise PENELCO also responded and took its part as one of the electric cooperatives in Region III who helped in the barangay electrification program under President Macapagal Arroyo’s administration.

On June 8, 2001, Republic Act 9136 or Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) of 2001 was passed wherein several reforms were acted upon, regarding certain laws governing the electric power industry. PENELCO complied, observed and followed the rules and mandate brought about by the new amendments in electric reforms. Consequently, the Management did not stop in considering several options and possibilities in improving and giving efficient service to the people of Bataan thus in the year 2004 the cooperative hired the professional services of the Comprehensive Rural Development Foundation – a consultancy firm specializing in the operational, financial and technical aspects of an electric distribution utility.

While PENELCO reaped many awards and distinctions, it faced another thorny issue which tested employees’ unity and management’s skillfulness. During the year 2007, issue regarding Cooperative Development Act (CDA) registration was the primary concern. Beliefs and confidence of member-consumers were divided. This matter triggered the employees, member-consumers and remaining Board of Directors to be more vigilant for the best interest of the co-op. The divided principles created chaos and confusion, it resulted to various protests and in the year 2008 some of the member-consumers headed by five Directors filed a resolution to remove the General Manager and appoint another. The employees of PENELCO studied, explained and educated the member-consumers regarding the advantages and disadvantages in changing the cooperatives’ functions. It clarified and challenged the issues that the other group asserted.  It was never an easy plight; the issue went on for another year and even called the attention of people in the government. But this time PENELCO, didn’t paddled its own canoe, it encountered people who helped because it saw the coop’s noble aims. As tension faded, new set of Board of Directors was elected; PENELCO continued its role and carry on with its mission and service the member-consumers with utmost diligence.

                Aware of its mandate, mission and vision for the electric needs and service excellence, PENELCO is also mindful on its responsibility towards the environment and the youth. , The whole family of PENELCO initiated the “Alay Lakad sa Kalikasan” and also showed the endeavor of the coop in joining collective efforts in saving the environment through tree planting and educating the students on ways of saving energy. The coop extended and lived its purpose to energize and provide electricity to remote areas even if beyond its area of franchise; it has energized 2 sitios under the town of Florida Blanca, Pampanga; Sitio Binalaba and Sitio Calixto which was organized as BAPA on May 7 and July 6, 2009 respectively.

As the Coop eyed many programs and projects, it helped the Board of Directors, management and employees to develop technical skills in their respective fields, to improve work efficiency and effectiveness and to develop positive attitude towards work through continuous education, in-house seminars and trainings.

                On the last quarter of 2009, PENELCO joined and participated in Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM). WESM was created by virtue of EPIRA. It is simply the system of trading wherein electricity as a commodity is being bought through the process of bidding, giving organizations and soon individuals the chance to purchase electricity at the lowest possible rate. To date, the coop has been able to share its savings through the continuous supply of energy at a lower cost brought about by the good decision making and strategic analysis of the spot market.

                PENELCO is always in the firing line, prices go up, wobbly economy, irregular conditions, criticisms and allegations were thrown against it but like a warrior with an invisible shield PENELCO stands firm. On December 22, 2009 PENELCO once again contributed a note worthy honor in the history of Philippine rural electrification. It, gained the distinction as the first Electric Cooperative in the country who energized all the 459 sitios in the province of Bataan. The new millennium implied new milestones for PENELCO. It keeps soaring on higher grounds and was always recognized for its achievements. Every year, it received several awards, citations and recognitions. PENELCO once more added an acclaimed merit on its numerous awards in the year 2009; it once again achieved the Emmanuel Pelaez Award, PENELCO’s 3rd Most Outstanding EC Award in its 20 years of existence. The management, staff and entire workforce is working hard to attain its objective. The focal point of all its achievements is directed towards one goal. Take away the awards, plaques, prizes and titles; PENELCO will remain in its mission and vision. A total service commitment to the Bataeños and soon the whole Filipino community. PENELCO – Peninsula Electric Cooperative, Inc., once upon a time it was a dream, then it realized and marked several achievements not only in the history of Bataan where its pride was born but in the whole country as well. Today, it is a respectable organization that proved its worth and continuously demonstrated a high spirit of heroism through the service of electrification. PENELCO unlocked the chain to the realization of various possibilities. It has untied the knots of boundless opportunities.

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