May 26, 2024

The public joined the Benguet Electric Cooperative community in mourning the death of its well-loved, former general manager, Gerardo P. Verzosa, who passed away on Sept. 16. He was 64.
“We, in Beneco, come with grief and deepest sorrow on the demise of our GM Gerardo Verzosa. It is depressing to learn that he has already left us. We lost a mentor and a GM who has guided us for years to be strong, steadfast and resilient. His death is a great loss that leads us to remember vividly who he was, what his thoughts were, his vision and his kind of undaunted leadership,” Beneco’s statement read.
Verzosa served Beneco for more than 30 years, when the National Electrification Administration appointed him in 1988 as a project manager.
He was officially designated general manager in 1990. He retired as Beneco chief on April 30 this year.
Institutional Services Division Manager Delmar Cariño said Verzosa came in at a time when Beneco was spiraling into the gutter with its double-digit systems loss, unpaid debts, low collection efficiency, and poor operational control.
This status was aggravated by the 1990 earthquake that destroyed Beneco’s infrastructure.
Verzosa was then in his 30s, a newbie in the power sector but had so much energy and grit to offer.
“What he only had was his guts, a college degree from Ateneo De Manila University and a master’s degree from the Fordham University at the Lincoln Center in New York,” Cariño shared in his piece that paid tribute to Verzosa.
“He was a superb GM. He has in his grips what the power industry is all about. His leadership has made Beneco the talk of the industry,” he added.
Verzosa has braved a hostile environment, learned the ins and outs of running an electric cooperative, solicited help of industry experts, ate for breakfast the complaints of consumers “who would gripe when their electricity gets off,” and many more experiences which helped capacitate him and how he ran Beneco.
Verzosa’s efficient leadership led Beneco to past industry norms – the books of the electric cooperative (EC) became debt-free, the double-digit system loss became single, the collection efficiency reached a 100 percent mark and the technical side got a big boost in terms of capital infusion and technology acquisition. 
“Today, not only is the EC recognized for the leaps it took. The triple A rating it got from NEA is miniscule compared to what the EC is all about today – engaging in other businesses, pioneer in the use of supervisory control and data acquisition (Scada), the first EC to sign an agreement with the Department of Information and Communications Technology for the provision of Internet services and constructing its own mini-hydro power plant, among others,” Cariño added.
Baguio Mayor Benjamin Magalong also condoled with the family of Verzosa. 
“GM Verzosa played a key role in catapulting Beneco into being one of the country’s top electric cooperatives committed not only to fulfilling the tenets of rural electrification but also of community building and corporate social responsibility. Our prayers and sympathies to his bereaved family. May his soul rest in peace,” Ma-galong said. – Ofelia C. Empian