December 4, 2022

Employees of the Benguet Electric Cooperative have appealed to the National Electrification Administration Board of Administrators to consider credentials such as work experiences and trainings in endorsing the next Beneco general manager.

Under NEA rules, the Board of Administrators submits to the Beneco board of directors the list of qualified applicants from whom the electric cooperative’s policy-making body can choose the general ma-nager.

In a letter, the employees reiterated Engr. Melchor Licoben, who serves as Beneco OIC general manager, possesses all the qualifications to be the distribution utility’s full-fledged general manager given his track record.

The employees asked the Board of Administrators to choose a general manager who has met the qualifications spelled out under NEA circulars. The NEA received the letter on April 28.

Among other qualifications, NEA Memorandum 2017-035 requires that the general manager of an electric cooperative should have “at least five years experience with proven track record in the effective management of successful electric utility-related business enterprise.”

The NEA also requires that a general manager must have held at least two or more senior management positions involving business leadership or managerial functions and should have attended training or seminars on electric cooperative principles supervision and/or management and energy management among other seminars.

“The pandemic has severely impacted on the operations of Beneco. A well-rounded leadership is the key to combat the hurdles of these times. We need a GM that could steer us and the electric cooperative to effectively accomplish our business continuity plan,” the employees said in their letter.

Licoben and Pre-sidential Communications Operations Office Asec. Marie Banaag have applied as Beneco general ma-nager.

The Beneco BOD, local government units, and other stakeholders in Baguio and Benguet have thrown their support to Licoben as Beneco’s full-time general manager.

A group of professionals from Baguio and Benguet also plans to submit a letter of support on the appointment of Licoben as Beneco general manager.

The professionals, mostly members of Pines Kumpadres, which is engaged in some civic activities, want the letter of support be forwarded to the NEA to give weight on the appointment of Licoben as the new Beneco chief.

The group members said they believed the Beneco board also based its appointment of Licoben to NEA’s Memorandum 2017-035, which outlines the policy on the selection, hiring, termination or service or suspension for general managers of electric cooperatives.

They said Licoben, who rose from the ranks given his more than 30 years of stint with Beneco, has met the key qualification of at least five years of experience with proven track record in the effective management of a successful electric-related business enterprise.

The current Beneco officer-in-charge GM also met the qualification of having held at least two or more senior management positions involving leadership, or managerial functions based on the NEA memorandum that underwent third revisions.

Having completed a bachelor’s degree of engineering, preferably electrical, mechanical and electronics, and communications engineer is also on top of the preferred qualification for a GM applicant although being a graduate of business administration/finance management, accountancy, and behavioral science is also among the qualifications.

The Beneco board has already forwarded to NEA its Resolution 2020-90 appointing Licoben as the new general manager after the retirement of the late Beneco GM, Gerardo Verzosa, on April 30, 2020.

The same board also passed Resolution 2020-165 reiterating its request to the NEA to act on the confirmation of Licoben’s appointment as time elapsed since the passage of Resolution 2020-90 appointing him as the new general manager of the electric cooperative.

Earlier, Beneco board president, Atty. Esteban Som-ngi, claimed the body is standing by its authority to appoint the most qualified individual to lead the distribution utility. – Jane B. Cadalig