‘Big Brother’

Published 8:57 am Thursday, February 28, 2013

AHOSKIE – Saving money is on the tip of everyone’s tongue, no matter the language.

That language barrier was broken here last week when Roanoke Electric Cooperative hosted a contingent from the Philippines. The visit stemmed from Roanoke Electric’s involvement with the Cooperative Development Alliance along with the Rural Electrification Financing Corporation (REFC) and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association International Ltd during the summer of 2012.

A member of the Philippines contingent listens to a phone conducting part of an e-transaction. Staff Photo by Joe Cowart

A member of the Philippines contingent listens to a phone conducting part of an e-transaction. Staff Photo by Joe Cowart

“This particular project that has come together because of a partnership with Roanoke Electrical Cooperative, the Rural Electrification Financing Corporation of the Philippines, both organizations are contributing to the partnership along NRECA, with a grant from the US Agency for International Development,” says Jim Walsh, Senior Representative of the NRECA International Programs.

The REFC, established in 2001, is a private financing corporation in the Philippines that is dedicated to providing financing assistance to electric cooperatives, like Roanoke EC, in the Philippines. Primarily these funds are used to support their needs for commodities and services sourced from the United States.

NRECA International Ltd, a branch of the electric cooperatives’ national support network, was formed to promote international rural electrification development that has assisted in initiating the electric cooperative program in the Philippines.

While the contingent was in Ahoskie on Feb. 22, they visited the Roanoke EC’s site to see firsthand how e-sourcing tools are used to get optimal efficiency in purchasing goods and services.  They also reviewed procedures currently in practice by the local cooperative to streamline their overall operations.

Wilfred Billena, President of the Philippines Rural Electric Cooperative Association and General Manager of lloilo 1 Electric Cooperative, says he has learned much about the implementation of e-sourcing and he is convinced that by using this tool it with help eliminate corruption in the purchasing of equipment and goods. He also says he likes the Americans being a big brother to his organization.

In formulating and launching the alliance, the partners will help in establishing the organizational and operational systems of REFC-sponsored EC procurements, increasing the scale and deal-flow of a newly established REFC procurement services subsidiary.  This will lead to the growth of REFC’s procurement financing business, by increasing the volume of procurement transactions, lending activity, and participation of more ECs in REFC’s program.

Curtis Wynn, President and CEO of Roanoke Electric Cooperative, said, “I am thrilled to have the Philippines delegation here; we learned much from their visit.”