De Lima to Cusi, Juaneza: Let electric coops choose their General Manager


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Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima urged Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi and National Electrification Administration (NEA) Chief Emmanuel Juaneza to empower electric cooperatives by upholding their authority to hire their General Manager.

De Lima, a social justice and human rights champion, said there is no justification for Cusi’s and Juaneza’s interference in the affairs of the electric cooperatives, especially in the selection of their general managers.

 “Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi and NEA Chief Emmanuel Juaneza should listen to the electric cooperatives,” she said in her Dispatch from Crame No. 1220.

“The latter’s complaints on DOE’s and NEA’s usurpation of electric coop powers to choose their own general managers remain unacted upon by both Cusi and Juaneza, to the point that the Philippine Rural Electric Cooperatives Association Inc. (PHILRECA) is now already calling for their resignation. It did not have to come to this point,” she added.

 Instead of undermining electric coops, De Lima added that the DOE and NEA “should uphold their prerogative to select their own general managers,” a prerogative which she noted “has been previously recognized by past DOE secretaries and NEA chiefs before Cusi and Juaneza ignored them and proceeded to issue orders usurping this power of the electric cooperatives.”

Recently, officers of PHILRECA and National Center of Electric Cooperative Consumers, Inc. (NCECCO), called for the immediate resignation of Cusi and Juaneza.

 NEA was reportedly criticized for being “anti-cooperative and anti-people” for issuing NEA Memo 2021-055 and NEA 2021-056, which transferred the power to hire, select, and appoint General Managers of electric cooperatives from the EC Board of Directors to NEA’s Board of Administrators.

According to leaders and advocates from the rural electrification sector, said memoranda do not uphold the interests and welfare of the coops and its members.

De Lima maintained that the attempt by DOE and NEA to centralize power and authority over electric cooperatives is “anathema to the principles of local community initiative, autonomy, and self-sufficiency upon which the establishment of cooperatives is founded.”

“There can be no more contradiction of the very reason-for-being of cooperatives than an intrusive and heavy-handed national government and its agencies that view electric cooperatives as their underlings,” she said.

“This perspective of the national government on the nature of electric cooperatives should be reversed now, before it completely destroys the cooperative as an institution with a long-running tradition of reliability in the country,” she added. (30)

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