NEA-BOA defers action on BENECO general manager post

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BAGUIO CITY – The waiting is not yet over as the members of the National Electrification Administration – Board of Administrators (NEA-BOA) deferred action on the resolution of the Board of Directors of the Benguet Electric Cooperative (BENECO) that rejected an earlier NEA-BOA decision and reiterated the appointment of Engr. Melchor S. Licoben as the general manager of the electric cooperative.

Instead of outrightly deciding on the matter, the NEA-BOA opted to refer the matter to the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel for its opinion on the controversial issue that have cropped up since the NEA-BOA entertained an applicant for the said position and unilaterally decided to open the position for applicant to suit the interest of their chosen candidate.

The NEA-BOA met last Wednesday supposedly to decide on the matter but the members decided otherwise.

BENECO officials and employees will continue their daily vigil and regular Black Friday protest to show their disappointment on the recent actions of the NEA-Boa that tend to have undermined the existing rules prescribed for the selection, screening, hiring and termination of general managers of electric cooperatives (ECs).

However, despite the ongoing protests against the NEA-BOA, BENECO continues to deliver quality and cheap power to its increasing number of consumers so as not to affect its status as one of the country’s top performing electric cooperatives in the country.

Majority of the members of the BENECO Board of Directors stand firm in the appointment of Engr. Licoben as the general manager of the electric cooperative pursuant to Resolution No. 2020-090 approved on April 21, 2020.

Further, NEA-BOA RB Resolution No. 2021-47 that endorsed to the BENECO board the appointment to the position of general manager the applicant that garnered the highest score in the final interview does not hold legal ground right from the start because there was no position that was opened to speak off for the accommodation of the chosen applicant.

On the other hand, concerned member-consumer-owners who earlier filed a petition before a local court to restrain the enforcement of the NEA-BOA decision stipulated that they will continue with their legal battle until such time that the issue will not be resolved so that it will be the court that will render a final decision on the said controversial issue that was created by the NEA-BOA.

During a number of hearings that had been previously called by the city council and the House committee on energy, it was discovered that one of the two applicants for the contested position was not qualified from the start because of the absence of proof of 5-year experience in the management of a successful electric cooperative or related business and the trainings required for the same.

Member-consumer-owners raised doubt on such decision of the NEA-BOA to accommodate and even endorse for appointment an unqualified applicant which casts doubts on the credibility and integrity of the members in making the right choices and decisions for the betterment of the electric cooperatives and the country’s power industry. By HENT

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