BAGUIO CITY – Leaders and concerned stakeholders of the rural electrification sector called out the immediate resignation of Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi and National Electrification Administration (NEA) Administrator Emmanuel Juaneza for their alleged incompetence in addressing the pressing concerns in the power sector among other related issues and concerns.
The call for resignation was initiated by officers of the Philippine Rural Electric Cooperatives, Inc (PHILRECA) and National Center of Electric Cooperative Consumers, Inc. (NCECCO), the national organizations of electric cooperatives and member-consumer-owners, respectively.
Citing that the Energy Secretary has already lost the trust of the Filipino people, NCECCO Secretary-General Edgardo R. Masongsong said NCECCO joins the call of Sen. Gatchalian and asks for the immediate resignation of Sec. Alfonso G. Cusi.
“Per Senate Resolution No. 137 and as filed before the Ombudsman by the Philippine Senate, the irregular and anomalous transfer of shares in the Chevron-UC Malampaya transaction went through under his nose despite the findings of his very own department that UC Malampaya is not financially fit to enter into transaction with Chevron. This transaction only benefitted a very few oligarchs, instead of the Filipino people,” said Masongsong.
On the side of the electric cooperatives, PHILRECA President and Party-List Representative Presley C. De Jesus said that Administrator Juaneza of NEA does not have what it takes to be an Administrator of an institution which used to be a partner of the electric cooperatives.
“I therefore call for Mr. Emmanuel P. Juaneza’s immediate resignation in the interest of electric cooperatives, the member-consumer-owners, and the preservation of the legacy of the Rural Electrification Program,” De Jesus said
as he concluded his statement.
Other leaders present in the press con also criticized NEA’s being “anti cooperative and anti-people” for issuing memoranda that do not uphold the interests and welfare of the coops and its members. The memoranda that they are referring to are NEA Memo 2021-055 and NEA 2021-056, which transferred the power to hire, select, and appoint General Managers of electric cooperatives from the EC Board of Directors to NEA’s Board of Administrators.
Atty. Gloria Corrales, President of the Philippine Association of Board of Directors of Rural Electric Cooperatives, Inc. (PHABDREC) said that as the direct representatives of MCOs, “the power to hire, select, and appoint a general manager has always been and should always be with the people who own the electric cooperatives, the member-consumer-owners.”
She added that “General Managers are appointed by the Board of Directors of the ECs that they manage because the GM should be accountable to the owners and consumers of the cooperative”.
National Association of General Managers of Electric Cooperatives (NAGMEC) President Allan Laniba, on the other hand, highlighted the importance of having qualified and competent General Managers of electric Cooperatives as they are considered the captain of the ship.
He questioned NEA’s reason for issuing the memoranda which essentially lowered the standards in the hiring, selection, and appointment of General Managers of electric cooperatives.
BENECO General Manager Engr. Melchor Licoben said that “instead of safeguarding and improving the minimum qualifications, experiences, and other requirements [to become a general manager], they (NEA) lowered or removed those impediments so that they can easily accept any candidate to the vacant position.”
The press con was ended by the organizers after entertaining questions form the media, emphasizing that the objective of the event was not to immediately solve the problems presented, but to instill awareness to the participants in the existence of such problems.