Baguio, Benguet officials renew support to Licoben

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BAGUIO CITY – City and provincial officials renewed their unwavering and uncompromising support to the appointment of Engr. Melchor S. Licoben as the general manager of the Benguet Electric Cooperative (BENECO) amidst the prevailing leadership crisis caused by the enactment of a questionable resolution by the National Electrification Administration – Board of Administrators (NEA-BOA) insisting to appoint and unqualified and not recommended applicant for the said coveted position.

BENECO operates as the sole power distribution utility for Baguio City and the 13 towns of nearby Benguet.

In their letter, Presidential chief legal counsel Salvador Panelo, Benguet Gov. Melchor Diclas and Vice Mayor Faustino A. Olowan pointed out that they cannot see any reason not to appoint Engr. Licoben as the BENECO general manager as they are fully aware that the local government units of Baguio and Benguet, including the member-consumer-owners (MCOs), have strongly endorsed him for the said position.

Earlier, the city council and the Benguet provincial board, aside from the municipal councils of the 13 towns of Benguet, have passed their own resolutions supporting Engr. Licoben given his expertise, trainings and more than 30 years of service in the power distribution industry having been employed by the electric cooperative.

The two officials admitted that managing an electric utility is not easy as it calls for experience and leadership that are in keeping with the nature of the said industry.

“Engr. Licoben possesses such qualifications. As former assistant general manager of BENECO, he possesses competence and has all the skills necessary for the said position. We vouch for the managerial ability and technical competence of Engr. Licoben to be the permanent BENECO general manager. We strongly endorse him as the general manager of BENCO,” the letter stressed.

Earlier, the BENECO Board of Directors twice rejected NEA-BOA Resolution 2021-47 which endorsed to the same the applicant that garnered the highest score in the final interview for appointment to the position of general manager and NEA-BOA Resolution 2021-71 which appointed former Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Assistant Secretary Ana Marie Paz Rafael as BENECO general manager.

Some 193 resolutions and manifesto of support to Engr. Licoben were forwarded to the NEA-BOA to show the overwhelming support of the concerned stakeholders to the current BENECO leadership but the same fell on deaf ears as the same insisted to pursue the appoint of the unqualified and not recommended applicant that caused initial confusion among the MCOs although the present leadership stood firm on its stand that the BENECO leadership remain under status quo pursuant to the marching  order from the House Committee on Energy. By HENT

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