BAGUIO CITY – Philippine Rural Electric Cooperatives Association (PHILRECA) Party-list Rep. Presly de Jesus urged the controversial National Electrification Administration (NEA) to stop tarnishing the dignity and decency of the Benguet Electric Cooperative (BENECO) and other similar institutions just to forward their personal and selfish agenda.
In a privilege speech delivered before members of the House of Representatives recently, De Jesus called on the present administration to put an end to the 2-year leadership impasse confronting BENECO for the member-consumer-owners (MCOs) to have the free will to select the general manager through the members of the Board of Directors who are empowered by law to do so.
He pointed out that established institutions such as the NEA must work for the people and not against the people as what is at stake in the BENECO leadership crisis is not only the future of the people of Benguet but the autonomy and freedom of the rural electrification program.
The lawmaker disclosed that for 40 years, BENECO has set the bar high with their world-class service, offering the cheapest electricity rate in the country, and with top-of-the-line amenities.
“Thousands of BENECO consumers can attest to this, and continue to count on us, as their representatives, to stand in solidarity with them. Therefore, Mr. Speaker, my message to NEA is loud and clear; hands off BENECO,” De Jesus stressed.
In the previous Congress, the House of Representatives passed House Resolution No. 213 which directed NEA to stop harassing electric cooperatives and to observe a status quo in the BENECO leadership.
However, De Jesus accused NEA of having no respect for the House, its members and the will of the people as it continues to harass BENECO with conflicting issuances.
According to him, BENECO is imbued with public interest. Its uninterrupted provision of electric service to the people of Benguet is ultimately a matter of the welfare of the constituents.
According to him, it is the paramount duty of Congress to take proper actions when no less than government bodies like the NEA attempt to corrupt and hinder cooperatives’ thrust to serve their consumers.
De Jesus argued that the continuous misrepresentation of lawyer Ana Marie Paz Rafael’s camp is not something to be brushed aside as it has caused and will continue to cause confusion among the consumers and spoil the trust and confidence that the BENECO has laboriously built over its 40 years of quality service to the people of Benguet.
Despite the status quo ante order under House Resolution No. 213 that was adopted last September 2021, De Jesus revealed that NEA Administrator Emmanuel Juaneza and Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) Undersecretary Joseph Encabo issued a joint statement last month encouraging the public to recognize and transact only with Rafael and the expelled four members of the BENECO Board of Directors.
He accused the NEA of blatantly disregarding the House and the wisdom of the members with questionable actions that run counter to the laws, rules and regulations crafted by the agency for the operation of electric cooperatives.