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BAGUIO CITY – The local government expressed support to the on-going efforts of the Board of Directors and the management of the Benguet Electric Cooperative (BENECO) to register the electric cooperative (EC) with the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) as a full pledged cooperative.
Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan said that with BENECO opting to register with CDA, the EC will be able to avail of the primary benefits of a cooperative which is tax exemption that will contribute in efforts of the EC to sustain lowering its rates for the benefit of its increasing number of residential and industrial consumers.
“We believe that BENECO’s registration with CDA has been long overdue and we are grateful that the Board of Directors and management saw the importance of actually being registered with the government regulatory agency,” Domogan stressed.
He claimed that it is the consumers who are being burdened by the taxes collected by BENECO after being imposed on the EC by concerned government agencies and local governments because the charges are being simply passed on to them with the EC serving as the collection agent.
According to him, once the various taxes being imposed on the EC by the concerned government agencies and the local government will be removed because of the tax exemption privilege that will be granted to BENECO once it formally registers with CDA, consumers will surely enjoy cheaper rates compared to what has now being charged them for their monthly power consumption.
It can be recalled that BENECO attempted twice to register with the CDA over the past decade but most consumers were not in favor of the presented option apart from its failure to master the quorum requirement provided under existing laws, rules and regulations.
Earlier, over 14,000 BENECO member-consumer-owners favorably voted in favor of the EC registering with the CDA during the three general assemblies that were conducted by the EC pursuant to its constitution and by-laws wherein one of the agenda discussed was its registration with the CDA by the end of the year.
Among the primary reasons advanced by the pro-CDA registration advocates is to prevent the EC from being taken over by interested private companies who are eying not only ailing ECs in the different parts of the country but also performing ECs like BENECO. It would result to higher power rates being charged to consumers because of the provision of profit incorporated in the power rates once a private company takes over the operation and management of BENECO.
BENECO is now conducting the required information and education campaign to convince its consumers to vote for the registration of the EC with the CDA for it to enjoy the mandatory tax exemption privilege granted to duly registered cooperatives.
Under existing laws, laws and regulations, ECs are mandated to register with the CDA but they will still be under the technical supervision of the National Electrification Administration (NEA), especially on matters of the government’s energization programs among other technical concerns.
By Dexter A. See