July 21, 2024

A strict leader with a strong personality, but a generous person with a compassionate heart.
This is how family members, employees, friends, and acquaintances of the late Benguet Electric Cooperative General Manager, Gerardo P. Verzosa, remembered the rural electrification industry leader when they paid their last respects to him on Sept. 24.
Family members and people who worked with him shared to the public the other side of the strong persona espoused by the late Beneco GM. Verzosa passed away on Sept. 16.
Kalinga Rep. Allen Jesse Mangaoang remembered his brother-in-law for his versatile personality that made him an instant celebrity among his in-laws.
Aside from his ability to blend easily with others, Mangaoang said Verzosa was a selfless and charitable person.
“For all I know, bayaw Gerry has done so much for humanity. He was selfless, compassionate, charitable, and in many ways, has touched our lives,” Mangaoang said of Verzosa during the requiem mass held at the Beneco headquarters at South Drive.
Mangaoang also cleared out the speculations surrounding Verzosa’s passing.
“Foremost, I would like to clear that bayaw Gerry does not owe anybody millions. He has no unsettled financial obligations that run in the millions. We hope this issue will stop circulating,” Mangaoang said.
He added that early this year, the Sandiganbayan has acquitted Verzosa of the charges filed against him and the late Balbalan mayor Kenneth Dale Mangaoang regarding the implementation of an electrification project in the town.
Verzosa retired as Beneco GM in April this year.
Mangaoang said the stress brought about by the lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic did not do any good to his brother-in-law, who suffered a mild stroke in January.
“He wanted to do a lot of things, but with the restrictions, he was barred from accomplishing them. This made him so stressed mentally and emotionally,” he said.
This was shared by Verzosa’s widow, Gail, who said her husband was so concerned about the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic to the country and to the world that he was bothered by the news and the conflicting ideas about the vaccine being developed to prevent the Covid-19.
She said her husband has also adhered to the safety protocols and heeded the call of health authorities for the vulnerable age groups to stay at home to be safe from the Covid-19 infection.
The strong person that he was, she said her husband would often reassure the family that things will get better.
“He insisted that we pray the Holy Rosary every night and would reassure us that in God’s time, this too shall pass. He never showed us any weakness as a husband and a father. Unfortunately, this pandemic got the best of him. The restrictions that halted him from accomplishing the plans he had laid out have caused him physical, emotional, and mental stress.”
“He (shared his fear) that the pandemic might affect him and result in a second bout (of stroke) that would affect his physical capabilities and would need a lot of care and attention.”
She said the late Beneco GM was an ideal family man.
Despite his busy schedule brought about by the demands of his work, she said her husband made sure his family was safe and never forgot to ask them how their day went.
Beneco OIC GM Melchor Licoben also shared the distribution utility’s grief with the passing of a leader who worked hard for Beneco to achieve what it is today.
“We are in deep sorrow with the passing of our GM, GPV. We lost a great mentor who guided us for three decades to be strong, resilient, dedicated, efficient, and competitive. His passing is not only a loss to Beneco, but also to the rural electrification movement,” Licoben said.
He added behind Verzosa’s strict and strong personality is a soft and kind-hearted, compassionate, and thoughtful person.
“He extended not only moral but financial support to those who needed help. He was always concerned about the welfare of the employees. We will be forever grateful to him; without his fearless arguments before the National Electrification Administration, Beneco employees would not be enjoying competitive salaries. The salaries of personnel of other electric coops would not have been upgraded as well if he did not push for it.”
Licoben said one of Verzosa’s ‘bragging rights’ is the cheaper electricity rates being enjoyed by Beneco consumers.
“He would always compare Meralco with Beneco’s rates. He would often say that Beneco is not even one percent of Meralco’s size (franchise area), but our rates are cheaper,” Licoben said.
“He worked hard to ensure that when the consumers turn on their switches, there is light.” – Jane B. Cadalig