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Baguio City officials requested the Benguet Electric Cooperative (BENECO) to ensure the continuous delivery of its excellent services to its rapidly increasing member-consumer-owners (MCOs), maintain the integrity of its funds and ensure that no employee shall be unjustly dismissed from their services amidst the brewing leadership crisis because of the undue interference of the National Electrification Administration–Board of Administrators (NEA-BOA) in the appointment of its general manager.
Under Resolution No. 517, series of 2021, signed by Mayor Benjamin B. Magalong, local legislators stated that due to the ongoing leadership issues confronting the electric cooperative, actions and response time for repairs and other emergency services which were slowed down on 18-20 October 2021 should be avoided or not be repeated.
Earlier, MCOs from the different city barangays brought to the attention of the local legislative body various issues and concerns in relation to the confusion created by the previous forcible takeover of the main BENECO headquarters along South Drive by the camp of controversial NEA Project Supervisor Omar Mayo and purported general manager lawyer Ana Marie Rafael that resulted to the unnecessary delays in the restoration of power and the confusion on where to make their payments for electric bills that were due that time.
The council pointed out that the feuding parties should not take any drastic action that will compromise the efficient and effective delivery of the electric cooperative’s quality services because of its existing status as one of the country’s top performing electric cooperatives that serve as a benchmark on the operation of electric cooperatives.
According to the council, the current status of BENECO was not achieved overnight that is why efforts to destabilize the same are uncalled for and do not conform with the norms and standards of society that is why the feuding parties should refrain from repeating the blitzkrieg takeover in the wee hours of October 18, 2021 so as not to jeopardize its ongoing smooth operations.
BENECO has enjoyed the distinction of charging the cheapest power rate from its MCOs compared to the power rates being charged by much bigger electric cooperatives and private power distribution utilities which clearly illustrates on how the electric cooperative has been efficiently and effectively managed that allowed the same to reach the highest pedestal in the country’s power industry.
At around 3 am of October 18, 2021, heavily armed police personnel broke into the BENECO main headquarters purposely to serve the preventive suspension order of some BENECO officials who were not in the said office during that time that paved the way for the NEA Project Supervisor to take over the same.
However, MCOs also showed their all-out support to the current BENECO leadership by retaking the BENECO main headquarters from the NEA Project Supervisor and his allies in the morning of October 20, 2021 that paved the way for the resumption of the regular services of the electric cooperative which had been interrupted by the earlier forcible takeover that had been planned to allegedly destabilize its operations and discredit its image from the consumers. By Dexter A. See