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GATCHALIAN CALLS FOR COMPROMISE IN BENECO ISSUE

Worried that the leadership impasse will disrupt the operations of Benguet Electric Cooperative (BENECO), Senator Win Gatchalian urged the National Electrification Administration (NEA) to undertake efforts to reach a middle ground with the employees and officers of the utility company.

“My worry is the stability of the operations of BENECO. Baguio is a highly urbanized city and BENECO supplies electricity to Baguio and 13 towns in the province of Benguet. Seeing your electric cooperative being manhandled doesn’t send a good signal to consumers and that is a concern,” Gatchalian said during the interpellation on the budget of energy agencies at the Senate.

“We told NEA to look into this matter and find a compromise rather than a litigation or a forceful implementation.”

“We told NEA to look into this matter and find a compromise rather than a litigation or a forceful implementation. Residents and business owners alike are worried if there will be any sabotage in the operations of BENECO or if disruptions in their electricity supply will take place in the days to come,” the veteran legislator added.

But even as the seasoned lawmaker made the call, the Senate Energy Committee Chairperson emphasized that the planned inquiry into the issues between BENECO and NEA will still push through as the conduct of the proceedings is in aid of legislation.

Meanwhile, a complaint has been filed by BENECO against a NEA official, former PCOO Assistant Secretary lawyer Ana Marie Rafael, and several others before the city prosecutor’s office after the takeover of BENECO’s main headquarters on October 18.

Rafael was appointed by NEA as BENECO’s general manager who was later on rejected by the power cooperative board.

“There is a pending case against BENECO related to audit findings conducted by the internal NEA audit team.”

NEA Chief Emmanuel Juaneza, on the other hand, said there is a pending case against BENECO related to audit findings conducted by the internal NEA audit team.

Just recently, the provincial board of Benguet declared Rafael persona non grata.

NEA legal officer Omar Mayo had also been declared persona non grata in Benguet.

Mayo is said to have led the armed takeover of the BENECO main headquarters last October.

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