Pending the resolution of cases in court, Senator Win Gatchalian urged the National Electrification Administration (NEA) to observe the status quo in the operations of Benguet Electric Cooperative (BENECO) under the leadership of its board-appointed general manager.

“We’ve known BENECO as a perfectly managed cooperative. My only interest being your chairman of the Senate Energy Committee is the stability and reliability of power supply in Baguio and the whole Benguet province,” Gatchalian said in a recent consultative meeting with BENECO officials in Baguio City.

“I’ll bring your request for a status quo of the situation. That’s the best for now,” the veteran legislator added while assuring the conduct of a Senate probe into the issue confronting BENECO and NEA stemming from the leadership row in the electric utility.

The seasoned lawmaker earlier filed a resolution in the Senate calling for a full-blown inquiry into the management standoff between NEA and BENECO following reports that the electric distribution utility has been experiencing problems in bank transactions as some accredited banks do not acknowledge the signature of Engr. Melchor Licoben, the general manager endorsed by the BENECO Board.

“The locals will always know best.”

“My basic principle is that the locals will always know best and the boards, whether it’s a cooperative board or Sangguniang board, they are empowered to choose the best people for themselves. Huwag na dapat makialam ‘yung tagalabas dahil magugulo lalo eh. Hindi naman nila alam yung patakbo ng mga kooperatiba,” the senator stressed.

A string of cases had been filed before the courts including graft charges against the NEA board of administrators (BOA) for endorsing former Presidential Communications Assistant Secretary, lawyer Ana Marie Rafael, to the BENECO board of directors (BOD) as the new general manager instead of Licoben.

“Habang nakabinbin ang mga kaso, hinihiling natin sa bawat panig na huwag gumawa ng mga hakbang na makakaapekto sa pagbibigay serbisyo sa mga konsyumer.”

“Habang nakabinbin ang mga kaso, hinihiling natin sa bawat panig na huwag gumawa ng mga hakbang na makakaapekto sa pagbibigay serbisyo sa mga konsyumer kagaya ng kung sino ang dapat kilalanin na maningil ng kanilang electric bills. Naaantala rin ang pagbabayad sa power suppliers ng BENECO dahil sa ilang problema sa transaksyon sa bangko,” he said.

“Ang mga ganitong mga kaganapan ay maaaring magbunsod ng pagkagambala sa operasyon ng BENECO at ang mga konsyumer ang magdurusa. Hindi dapat maipit sa usapin ang publiko,” Gatchalian stressed.



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