BAGUIO CITY– Concerned power industry stakeholders in Baguio and Benguet are eagerly awaiting the next move of the National electrification Administration (NEA-BOA) on the recent decision of the Board of Directors of the Benguet Electric Cooperative (BENECO) to reject BOA Resolution RB 2021-47 endorsing the applicant that garnered the highest score in the final interview to the electric cooperative (EC) board for appointment as general manager.
In the case of the Agusan del Norte Electric Cooperative, the NEA-BOA allegedly endorsed a single applicant for the position of general manager of the said cooperative but the EC board instead recommended a more experienced individual for the said position and the same was eventually affirmed by the BOA.
The BENECO board transmitted to the NEA-BOA its rejection of the earlier BOA resolution and reiterated the appointment of Engr. Melchor S. Licoben as the general manager of one of the country’s top performing electric cooperative pursuant to the established guidelines in the selection, hiring and termination of general managers crafted by the NEA under Memorandum Circular No. 2017-035.
Under the pertinent provisions of Republic Act (RA) 10531 or the National Electrification Administration Reform Act, the EC boards are empowered to appoint the general managers of ECs who are qualified for the said position.
During the conduct of an inquiry that was conducted by the city council, no less than NEA Institutional Development Department manager Molie Alamillio admitted that one of the applicants for BENECO general manager did not meet the required 5 years experience in managing a performing electric cooperative or similar business.
Further, during the inquiry that was conducted by the House committee on energy on the same issue, it was discovered that the aforesaid applicant did not only fail to qualify on the required 5 years experience but also in the mandated trainings related to the management of electric cooperatives and on the power industry that made lawmakers to conclude that the NEA-BOA allegedly blatantly violated its very own rules in the selection, hiring and termination of general managers.
Philippine Rural Electric Cooperative Association (PHILRECA) Party-list Rep. Presly de Jesus, who presided over the inquiry that was conducted by the House committee on energy, warned the NEA-BOA that future congressional inquiries will be done once the aforesaid controversial issue will not be settled and that the same could even cause the filing of the appropriate charges against the NEA-BOA members who are trying to insist on their wrongly premised position obviously to suit the interest of their preferred applicant for the said position.
Lawmakers questioned the NEA-BOA for insisting on its position that the same has the discretion to endorse to the EC board the applicant that garnered the highest score in the final interview for appointment to the position of general manager when it is clearly provided under NEA MC No. 2017-035 that the BOA should transmit to the EC board the list of qualified applicants who passed the final interview, including other information and the results of the background investigation, for perusal and to appoint the deserving applicant.
Power industry sources disclosed that if the NEA-BOA will insist on its position to endorse the applicant that garnered the highest score in the final interview for appointment to the position of BENECO general manager, it is obvious that from the start the BOA had already its preference of pushing for the appointment of an alleged unqualified individual for the said sensitive position for whatever purpose or for whosever interest contrary to the established screening and hiring processes.
THE NEA-BOA is scheduled to meet on Wednesday, June 30, 2021 to decide on the controversial matter which is being awaited by concerned stakeholders for the initiation of whatever available remedies to prevent the electric cooperative from losing its grip as one of the top performing electric cooperatives in the country.
For more than a month now, BENECO officers and employees had been conducting a daily vigil and the Black Friday protest to continue expressing their vehement opposition to the way the NEA-BOA grossly violated the screening and hiring rules for the position of general manager.
On April 21, 2020, the BENECO board approved Resolution No. 2020-090 which appointed Engr. Melchor S. Licoben as the new BENECO general manager vice the late Gerardo P. Verzosa pursuant to the second option as provided for under MC No. 2017-035.
Based on the guidelines, the position of general manager could be opened for potential applicants outside the concerned electric cooperative through a notice of vacancy that will be published.
Moreover, the second option under the rules is that the EC board is empowered to appoint from qualified insiders the next general manager which the BENECO board complied in appointing Engr. Licoben to the said position as per the aforesaid resolution.
If the BOA will insist on its position in pursuing the endorsement of an unqualified applicant, the BENECO board will also stand firm on its earlier position and will not allow anyone to simply intrude into the affairs of the electric cooperative. By HENT