The Philippine Rural Electric Cooperatives Association, Inc. (PHILRECA), National Association of General Managers of Electric Cooperatives, Inc. (NAGMEC), and the National Center of Electric Cooperative Consumers, Inc. (NCECCO) slammed the National Association of Electric Consumers for Reforms, Inc. (NASECORE) over its “absolutely erroneous and outright malicious” allegations against National Electrification Administration (NEA) Administrator Edgardo R. Masongsong.

In a letter addressed to Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi, NASECORE said Masongsong “acted beyond his power and authority” when he issued memoranda increasing the salary and retirement benefits of general managers (GMs) of electric cooperatives (ECs). 

According to NASECORE, the memoranda that hiked the salaries of the GMs is also prejudicial and inequitable to the member-consumer owners (MCOs) as the salary scale is grossly out of proportion to the market share of the ECs; and Masongsong has no authority fixing the salary and retirement benefits of the GMs as such matter is outside his operation and internal administrative functions as NEA administrator. NASECORE also noted that the GMs are “not subordinate officers of NEA.”

“Administrator Masongsong is an implementor of policies approved by NEA’s Board of Administrators.”

But according to PHILRECA, NAGMEC and NCECCO, NASECORE’s action as well as its legitimacy as an advocacy group are questionable.

“What is NASECORE as an organization? Does it even have a genuine advocacy? Does it truly represent what it purport to embody? Its membership base is unheard of and it has no reputation to speak of,” the three groups asked.

While NASECORE claimed that it is pro-consumer, the three groups also stressed that they never actually heard NASECORE speak of its position on substantial current issues affecting power consumers like the IEMOP controversy involving DOE Secretary Cusi, the scandal-tainted takeover of WESM (Wholesale Electricity Stock Market), or the looming power shortage come Summer.

NASECORE has accused Masongsong of implementing issuances without its Board of Administrator’s (BOA) approval. 

NASECORE’s Executive Director Rafael Acebedo also alleged that Masongsong’s actions were tantamount to usurpation of authority and a violation of PD 269 (law creating the NEA) as policymaking is a power vested upon the Board of Administrators.

But PHILRECA Executive Director and General Manager Janeene D. Colingan countered that these accusations “cannot be farther than the truth” as simple inquiry with the NEA will confirm that the memoranda in question were approved by NEA BOA through earlier resolutions. 

“These questioned resolutions were in fact published more than a year ago, which raises the question: Why are they only raising the questions now?” asked Colingan.

“The head of NASECORE should have known the process or have checked and validated things first – unless there was really no intention to validate facts, because the intention is really to throw away personal malicious accusations trying to destroy the NEA Administrator who has already introduced numerous reforms at the Agency for the benefit of the ECs and MCOs,” Colingan added.

“While NEA Administrator Masongsong proposed the revision of the salary scale and retirement benefits of the GMs, his office did so with much consideration of ensuring the operational viability of electric cooperatives which includes therein the oversight function to look into the salaries and benefits of the employees and officers. The NEA reviewed, studied and proposed the same to the Board before the latter gave its approval for the implementation.  Moreover, NEA Policies adopted via its Board Resolutions are published in the University of the Philippines Law Center before it was made effective,” said Colingan.

“It is therefore a wrong and misplaced conclusion for NASECORE to say that the memoranda of the said NEA administrator was issued in excess of his power and authority,” concluded Colingan.

“The head of NASECORE should have known the process or have checked and validated things first – unless there was really no intention to validate facts.”

Meanwhile, NAGMEC president Allan Laniba lashed at NASECORE for alleging that the memoranda were issued to entice ECs into supporting the campaign of four party-list groups that are advocating the rights of ECs and MCOs.

“Paulit-ulit na lang yang issue sa party-list na sinasabi ng NASECORE. Lumang-tugtugin na yan – let the appropriate courts or agency decide on the matter,” said Laniba.

On NASECORE’s charge that the management of electric cooperatives is the same or simply comparable with the management of other private distribution utilities, Laniba said this is an act of injustice to the former. 

“There is a huge difference between ECs and other private utilities – which is why ERC approved different rate setting methodologies for electric cooperatives and for private distribution utilities,” said Laniba.

“For example, how they get their funding requirements, the type of terrain that they provide service to, and the consumer density in their franchise areas. NASECORE’s simplistic comparison of the two different entities show its lack of understanding of how the energy sector works”, explained Laniba.

For his part, Rodrigo B. Sacedor, NCECCO chairman said NASECORE may be barking up the wrong tree. 

“Administrator Masongsong is an implementor of policies approved by NEA’s Board of Administrators, headed by the DOE Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi himself as Chairman. If NASECORE has any concerns or opposition to any NEA policies, isn’t it proper to raise this either to the BOA, or to its Chairperson?”, said Sacedor.

“In NASECORE’s letter, they even mentioned that the NEA Administrator’s power is ‘to execute and administer the policies, plans and programs, and rules and regulations approved or promulgated by the Board of Administrators,” added Sacedor.

Sacedor believes that NASECORE’s letter to Sec. Cusi is malicious at the very least and is only an attempt of a fading and irrelevant organization to seek media attention.

PHILRECA, NAGMEC, and NCECCO all issued their statements of support and solidarity as they stand by the integrity and competence of Masongsong, who, since assuming the post as NEA Administrator on November 21, 2016, has accomplished major milestones benefiting not just the agency but the movement of the 121 electric cooperatives and 10 million residential member-consumer-owners with more or less 60 million Filipinos living in the rural Philippines.


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