February 28, 2024

The municipal council of La Trinidad, Benguet is hoping district election of the board of directors of the Benguet Electric Cooperative will push through this October.

Councilor Bartolome Baldas, Jr. said they are looking forward for the National Electrification Administration not to postpone it due to the conduct of the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections, which is also set in the same month.

Earlier, the municipal council passed a resolution requesting the NEA and the interim BOD of Beneco to immediately call for the election of the regular members of the board to put to rest issues on the proper representation of the member-consumers.

Beneco interim board chair Steve Cating has informed the town council on Aug. 1 it is the collective decision of the management to proceed with the selection of the general manager position first. 

“We decided, with the input of NEA Administrator Antonio Mariano Almeda, that the interim board would select the general manager first and then proceed with the election in October,” Cating said. 

He said there is a need for a general manager to help steer Beneco in facing critical issues such as the renewal of franchise, procurement of a new power supply contract, rate negotiation with Team Energy, and the settlement of obligations to Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management (Psalm).

He said the general manager vacancy has already been opened and the NEA that is in-charge of vetting the applicants is currently processing the applications.

Acting Beneco General Manager Delmar Cariño said the three applicants for general managers are Engr. Melchor Licoben; Engr. Merly Landocan, a former employee of Beneco; and Artemio Bacoco who had to step down from the interim board when he applied for the position. 

“They are currently undergoing exams so that comes the background information. The final interview by the Board of Administrators of NEA would forward to the board the qualified applicants to choose from,” Cariño said.

As for the ongoing case in the Court of Appeals between the general managership row between Atty. Marie Rafael and Licoben, Cariño said if the CA would sustain the appointment of Rafael it would be moot and academic since the NEA has already terminated her appointment last January.

But if the CA would decide that Licoben would sit as general manager, he said the current interim board would respect the decision, along with the NEA.   

Cating said timeline and guidelines for the district election will be tackled by the interim board once the general manager has been chosen. – Ofelia C. Empian