February 3, 2023

There is no need for other appointees to lead the Benguet Electric Cooperative, one the country’s outstanding public utility firms.
Beneco’s highest policy-making body, the board of directors, is standing by its authority to appoint the most qualified official to lead the distribution utility.
Lawyer Esteban Somngi, Beneco board of directors president, said there is no need for other appointees to assume Beneco’s leadership, saying its current office-in-charge is most qualified for the job.
Somngi is positive that the board’s appointment of Engr. Melchor Licoben as full-time general manager of Beneco will earn a favorable action from the National Electrification Administration, the regulator of electric cooperatives in the country.
Beneco is awaiting NEA’s confirmation of Licoben’s appointment as a full-fledged general manager. He is currently leading Beneco in OIC capacity.
Amid reports that other applicants are eyeing the leadership of Beneco by seeking the direct endorsement of NEA, Somngi said the authority to choose a general manager for an electric cooperative that’s performing well, lies with the board of directors.
“The power to hire and fire (a general manager) is with the board. Right now, there is no need for other appointees because Beneco is not an ailing cooperative,” he said, amidst reports that other applicants are seeking NEA’s endorsement to lead Beneco.
Somngi said NEA can choose the general manager only if an electric cooperative is considered as ailing or one that does not meet the performance standards set by the NEA.
Other electric cooperatives are also registered with the Cooperative Development Authority.
Beneco employees and various local government units, including the partylists representing the interest of electricity consumers at the Lower House, rallied behind Licoben’s appointment as the utility’s full-time general manager, banking on his experience and familiarity of the power industry, which they said is a foremost qualification. – Jane B. Cadalig