SENATOR Rafael Tulfo, during the Senate committee meeting last week, reprimanded National Electrification Administration (NEA) officials for interfering with the Benguet Electric Cooperative (Beneco) and installing its own general manager different from that earlier elected by Beneco’s board of directors.
At the Senate Committee on Energy organizational meeting, Tulfo said that it will review NEA Memorandum No. 2017-035, said to have been used to justify its allegedly anomalous appointment of Maria Paz Rafael as Beneco’s general manager.
“As far as I’m concerned, walang problema ang Beneco – mababa ang kanilang singil, maganda ang performance at walang brownouts sa areas na sakop nila. Ngayon, bakit pinalitan ng NEA ang general manager elected by their board of directors? Yan ang tanong ng consumers ng Beneco. ‘Ika nga sa kasabihan, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” he said.
“I don’t see any reason bakit ‘yan ay patuloy na mamamayagpag. It doesn’t make any sense. Wala pong common sense diyan po sa pinagsasabi ninyo. ‘Yan pong memorandum na ‘yan, wala pong common sense, I’m sorry. For me, it doesn’t make sense, for the nth time,” he added,
“Yung memorandum order, I have to look into that, I will change that. It has to be changed,” he said.
Tulfo said that the problematic memo recalled a previous incident when Beneco’s board of directors elected Melchor Licoben as GM after the April 2020 retirement of the late Gerardo P. Versoza.
The NEA, which supervises electric cooperatives, instead appointed Ana Maria Paz Rafael as the cooperative’s GM.
NEA Deputy Administrator for Legal Services Rossan Rosero-Lee said that Memorandum No. 2017-035, which provides for the procedures for the selection of general managers for electric cooperatives, gave them the justification in appointing lawyer Marie Rafael as Beneco GM instead.
Senator Ronald Dela Rosa quipped, “‘Yung memorandum circular ng NEA na ‘yun ay sa tingin ko ay masyadong micro-managing the electric cooperatives ‘pag ganu’n na sila pa dito sa taas ang pipili kung sinong magiging GM du’n sa baba.”
“Dito tayo nagkaka-problema dahil kahit pala nakapili na ang board of directors ng kanilang general manager, pwede pala itong randomly palitan ni NEA. In a way, tinatanggalan ng halaga ang selection process ng isang kooperatiba,” Tulfo again interjected.
He then told NEA to help ailing cooperatives instead.
“Makialam po kayo kapag may problema o ailing ang isang kooperatiba and see how you can fix the problem, pero kung walang problema and the operation is good, huwag ninyong pakialaman.” – Frank Cimatu