BAGUIO CITY – Senator Sherwin Gatchalian questioned the National Electrification Administration–Board of Administrators (NEA-BOA) for issuing memoranda to electric cooperatives that run counter to Republic Act (RA) 10531 or the NEA Reform Act and related rules and regulations, that are obviously aimed at correcting their lapses in the past appointments of general manager, particularly in the case of the Benguet Electric Cooperative (Beneco).
Gatchalian, who chairs the Senate committee on energy, stated that the latest issuance of the NEA-BOA, specifically Memorandum to ECs 2021-056 which revised the guidelines in the conduct of examination and interview for applicants to the position of general managers of electric cooperatives amending NEA Memorandum No. 2018-004 is illegal and contrary to existing laws, rules and regulations.
He pointed out that NEA-BOA has no business interfering in the affairs of top performing electric cooperatives like Beneco, especially in the appointment of the general manager, because the power to do so is lodged with the Board of Directors of the electric cooperatives.
The senator claimed that the more the NEA-BOA issues conflicting guidelines to correct their faults in the past, the more that their credibility is being questioned because the said issuances are contrary to existing laws, rules and regulations in the implementation of the pertinent provisions of the NEA Reform Act.
Under NEA Memorandum No. 2021-056, only the applicant who obtains the highest passing score in the final interview of the NEA-BOA shall be appointed by the NEA-BOA as general manager and forwarded to the electric cooperative for acceptance.
On the other hand, NEA Memorandum No. 2021-055, the NEA-BOA bestowed into it the power to appoint the general manager of electric cooperatives contrary to the explicit provisions of the NEA Reform Act that authorizes the Board of Directors of electric cooperatives to appoint their general managers based on the list of qualified applicants that were screened by the NEA screening committee.
Senator Gatchalian underscored that the committee on energy will continue to investigate the overreach of the NEA-BOA of its powers that resulted to the prevailing leadership impasse in Beneco to prevent the commission of similar illegal actions by the NEA-BOA in the appointment of general managers of electric cooperatives which are vacated because of retirement or termination.
According to him, the NEA-BOA is only empowered to intervene in the affairs of ailing electric cooperatives but not for top performing electric cooperatives they are already aware of effectively and efficiently managing their affairs unlike the ailing ones.
Gatchalian vowed to help in maintaining status quo in Beneco to ensure that its Class AAA classification and green category being one of the top performing electric cooperatives will not be compromised by the current leadership crisis caused by the illegal intervention of the NEA-BOA by insisting the appointment of a general manager which was filled up by the Board of Directors way back on April 21, 2020 through Resolution No. 2020-090 which was unanimously approved by the board of Directors.