A MEMBER of National Association of Electricity Consumers for Reforms Inc. (Nasecore) Board of Trustees believed the proposed measure seeking to create the Baguio Electric Cooperative (Baelco) is good for Benguet.
Bial Palaez said House Bill 5518, filed by Baguio Representative Bernard Vergara, will free both Benguet and Baguio and it is “hitting three birds with just one stone.”
He said the measure not only seeks to create a separate electric cooperative for Baguio City, but it also wants a coop that is registered with the Cooperative Development Authority, and a distinct electric cooperative for Benguet.
“The aim of the bill is for a separate electric cooperative for Baguio. It will give freedom for Benguet to automatically have its own electric cooperative,” said Palaez, who is also a Benguet Electric Cooperative (Beneco) consumer.
He said the bill, when passed into law, will hasten the creation of an electric cooperative for Benguet. This, he added, would result in effective management of the province’s cooperative and would give focus on energizing the barangays and sitios that are not yet energized by the province.
Palaez explained the concentration of Beneco now is divided into two: the city and the province.
“It is high time Benguet has its own electric cooperative. Many years had lapsed since Beneco that includes Baguio was registered on October 5, 1973 and yet Benguet is still not fully energized,” he said, adding the separation is the answer to this situation.
He stressed rural electrification will be prioritized if there will be a separate cooperative. The prioritization is pursuant to Presidential Decree 269, or the National Electrification Administration Decree.
This, he added, will make rural folk self-sufficient and will encourage them to live in their rich rural places instead of going to the cities.
Moreover, the separation of electric cooperatives will result to more effective services to the consumer–members, Palaez said.
He cited the present condition of Beneco wherein it has a main office in Alapang, La Trinidad but it has also a branch office in Bonuan, Baguio City. Beneco plans to construct a big building and a basketball court in South Drive, but Palaez call this unfair to the people of Benguet.
He said the present administration of Beneco is implementing uneven infrastructure projects because its direction is toward the developments in Baguio City.
“Per audit report, Beneco has been in the red. Its total accumulated net losses amount to more than P585 million as of September 30, 2010. This amount is expected to increase or decrease when the income statement in 2011 will be audited,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Provincial Board crafted a resolution opposing the Vergara bill.
The Board, however, promised to invite Beneco on its next meeting for its members to answer allegations of Palaez.
“We will ask what kind of losses they incurred and where are these losses came from. If it is from the city or from our province,” said Vice Governor Crescencio Pacalso.