Senator wants BENECO leadership impasse resolved

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BAGUIO CITY– The Senate committee on energy wants a speedy resolution to the ongoing brewing leadership impasse in the Benguet Electric Cooperative (BENECO), one of the top performing electric cooperatives in the country, to stabilize the prevailing chaotic situation to sustain the efficient and effective delivery of cheap and quality power to its member-consumer-owners (MCOs).

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, chairman of the Senate committee on energy, disclosed that the possibility of calling for a full blown public hearing on the said matter remains an option but he wants to find other ways to end the rift so as not to affect the steady supply of cheap and quality power to the MCOs in Baguio and Benguet.

He admitted that based on his research, BENECO is a top performing electric cooperative that achieved its Class AAA ranking with the previous and present management where the appointment of the general manager should already be outside the turf of the National Electrification Administration–Board of Administrators (NEA-BOA), but instead within the power of the board of Directors.

Senator Gatchalian was impressed on the state of the BENECO headquarters after his personally visiting and conducting an inspection on the state-of-the-art facilities that paved the way for the electric cooperative to be conferred its Class AAA standing.

According to him, it is unfortunate that the NEA-BOA continues to impose its will on a top performing electric cooperative beyond its jurisdiction, being a better performing electric cooperative which gives its Board of Directors the primordial consideration of appointing its general manager.

On April 21, 2020, the BENECO Board of Directors passed Resolution No. 2020-90 that appointed Engr. Melchor S. Licoben as the general manager vice the late Gerardo P. Verzosa which the NEA failed to act within the prescribed period pursuant to the pertinent provisions of Republic Act (RA) 6713 or the Code of Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.

Senator Gatchalian explained that the committee will come out with a decision on whether or not to call for a public hearing on the matter in the next 2 weeks after all the appropriate information shall have been gathered to guide them on any decision to help concerned government agencies solve the matter so as not to compromise the delivery power and services to the consumers without unnecessarily being interrupted due to the ongoing leadership crisis created by the NEA-BOA.

He assured concerned sectors that the Senate committee on energy will work for the greater interest of the consumers to prevent the occurrence of further conflicts that might derail the efficient and effective delivery of services that might ruin the image of the electric cooperative, especially at this time of the year when there is an influx of tourists to Baguio and Benguet following the decision of the inter-agency task force for the management of emerging infectious diseases to gradually and safely open the tourism industry.

The leadership impasse transpired after the NEA-BOA insisted to appoint an unqualified and not recommended applicant to the position of general manager of the electric cooperative despite the existence of the appointment made by the board of Directors for the coveted position.

By HENT

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