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Senate seeks solution to NEA-BUSECO dispute

PASAY CITY, Philippines – Board members of Bukidnon Second Electric Cooperative (BUSECO) greet Senate Committee on Cooperatives chairman Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri (3rd from L) and Committee on Energy chairman Senator Win Gatchalian (extreme R) after an emergency consultative meeting at the Senate, 7 Nov 2017. The Senate is exhausting all lawful actions to mend the relationship between BUSECO and the National Electrification Administration (NEA) following the government agency’s disciplinary measures to the utility cooperative that serves 86,000 households. Photo by Mark Cayabyab/OS WIN GATCHALIAN

The Senate is taking the lead in mediating the heated dispute between the National Electrification Administration (NEA) and the Bukidnon Second Electric Cooperative Inc. (BUSECO) concerning the former’s disciplinary authority over the latter.

“This meeting was set to create a solution that would benefit both parties. A misunderstanding like this can possibly lead to technical issues. We don’t want this to affect our power consumers in Bukidnon,” said Gatchalian, chairman of the Senate Energy Committee, during the emergency consultative meeting last week facilitated jointly by said committee and the committee on cooperatives, chaired by Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri.

Reported irregularities in BUSECO had prompted NEA to issue Office Order No. 2017-80 to take-over the cooperative’s internal and financial management. BUSECO answered by filing a complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman questioning the legality of the order.

“During the meeting we managed to find rational solutions through certain agreements. This is the first step in mending this strained relationship, said Gatchalian.

The following agreements were agreed upon by both parties:

  1. Appoint Dr. Regin Mordeno, former Board of Directors of First Bukidnon Electric Cooperative, Inc. (FIBECO) as the Acting Manager for BUSECO for a month.
  2. A publication must be made to fill up the vacant position of General Manager of BUSECO.
  3. NEA shall conduct an audit of BUSECO’s books without pre-condition.
  4. All dismissed employees and BUSECO board members who are under preventive suspension shall be reinstated.
  5. NEA and BUSECO shall refrain from any activities that would spew misinformation.
  6. There shall be a withdrawal of filed complaints made before the Office of the Ombudsman.

Gatchalian reassured both parties that the committee will remain impartial while the issues between the two are being resolved: “I would like to reiterate the value of trust and so we ask you to trust us that this matter will not go unnoticed. Trust that the committee will exhaust all lawful actions to mend this relationship.”