December 10, 2022

The National Electrification Administration has agreed to furnish the Baguio city council copies of the audit conducted on the Benguet Electric Cooperative including the P160 million the latter invested in a financing facility.

Atty. Oswaldo Gabat, who was among the NEA representatives who attended the council session via Zoom last week, said they will furnish the council a copy of the financial and management audit done on Beneco.

The council has invited NEA and Beneco representatives to be clarified on the P160M invested by Beneco in the Rural Electrification Financing Corp., a facility owned by electric coops in the country.

Leila Bonifacio of NEA said they are waiting for the result of the audit by the Electric Cooperative Audit Department on Beneco.

The council sought an audience with NEA and Beneco to update them on the P300M loaned by Beneco from the Development Bank of the Philippines of which P160M was invested in the REFC.

Gabat said NEA has consented to Beneco’s obtaining of the P300M loan as the initiative is allowed for electric cooperatives.

He, however, said the NEA was not informed about Beneco’s P160M investment in the REFC.

Beneco General Manager Melchor Licoben said the P160M which it infused to the REFC was meant to increase the financing facility’s capitalization and to also help other electric coops that are obtaining loans to improve their operations.

He said the investment was approved by the Beneco board of directors.

Licoben added the electric cooperative has eventually loaned P160M from the REFC and used it to pay its loan with the DBP.

He added such move was advantageous for Beneco since it did not have to obtain a loan from other financing institutions.

He said part of the interest earned by the REFC goes to Beneco in the form of dividends.

Asked by Councilor Fred Bagbagen if Beneco officials are liable for charges for not seeking NEA’s approval of its P160M investment to the REFC, Gabat said it would depend on the result the audit, which is being finalized by NEA’s EC Audit Department.

He, however, saidNEA’s concurrence on Beneco’s infusion of capital to the REFC was needed. – Jane B. Cadalig