Former BENECO manager warns of possible takeover of private firm

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BAGUIO CITY – The management of the Benguet Electric Cooperative (BENECO) might end up in the hands of a private company that has been eyeing the same over the past several decades if the present leadership will cause the cooperative’s eventual downfall.

This was the warning echoed by former BENECO general manager Peter Cosalan during the electric cooperative’s virtual 40th annual general membership assembly (AGMA) held Saturday.

He pointed out that the ongoing leadership crisis in one of the country’s top performing electric cooperative is aimed at eventually making its operations a failure to be classified as an ailing cooperative to pave the way for the possible takeover of an already chosen private company that will be detrimental in the government’s efforts to implement its rural electrification program and to sustain providing cheaper power rates to the member-consumer-owners (MCOs).

The former BENECO official disclosed that in the past, the National Electrification Administration (NEA) allegedly sold BENECO to an influential private company in the past but the previous management resisted the same until the deal was foiled because of the firm position of the management and the board not to allow the supposed planned takeover.

Cosalan commended the late BENECO general manager Gerardo P. Verzosa for having spearheaded the resistance against the possible takeover of the electric cooperative that could have caused the significant increase in power rates and the non-implementation of the government’s rural electrification program that could have resulted to the non-energization of most of the nonviable areas in Benguet.

According to him, the designation by the NEA of a project supervisor is also questionable because BENECO is not an ailing cooperative and that the NEA should afford due respect to the decision of the BENECO Board of Directors in appointing Engr. Melchor S. Licoben to the position of general manager effective upon the retirement of Verzosa on May 1, 2020 pursuant to Resolution No. 2020-090.

He called on MCOs to be vigilant on what is currently happening in the electric cooperative management to avert ill motives of the NEA to eventually allow the takeover of a private company that will manage the cooperative which will be detrimental to the ongoing efforts of the management to further improve its services.

He assured his all-out support to the 7 members of the board and Engr. Licoben who had been unjustifiably preventively suspended simply because of their failure to comply with the enforcement of the questionable NEA-BOA resolutions that insisted the questionable appointment applicant for the position of general manager, saying that MCOs must be willing to come out in the open to prevent the machinations being employed by the powers that be only to suit the interest of those behind the ongoing leadership crisis in the cooperative.

Despite the ongoing leadership crisis, BENECO remains to charge one of the cheapest power rates from its MCOs among the various electric cooperatives in the country. By HENT

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