The Baguio City Council has invited Engr. Melchor Licoben, General Manager of Benguet Electric Cooperative (BENECO) Inc., and Steve Cating, Chairperson of the BENECO Interim Board of Directors to its regular session on January 15, 2024 to discuss several perennial issues affecting the electric cooperative. The city council’s invitation came two months after Licoben’s appointment as
General Manager of BENECO.

Councilor Fred Bagbagen, who initiated the invitation, enumerated three issues he wanted to be discussed during the session. These were the operation of the Man-asok Project, the unliquidated cash advances of the former members of the Board of Directors (BOD), and the use of the restricted funds of BENECO to pay the car loans of the former BENECO BOD members.

Bagbagen recalled that, during one of the city council’s regular sessions, BENECO officials said the Man-asok project would soon be operational, resulting in lower electricity rates for the member consumer owners. The councilor requested the invitees to brief the city council on the development of this project.

The other two issues he raised stemmed from the financial and management audit conducted by the National Electrification Administration (NEA) which covered the period from 2018 to 2021. In that report, it was found that there were “unlawful” privileges granted to the BOD members such as the grant of loans and cash advances.

The findings presented in the financial report eventually led to the termination of all the former BOD members and a 45- day suspension on Licoben, internal auditor Brenda Carling, and engineering manager Rocky Pallogan.

Jordan G. Habbiling/SP

Amianan Balita Ngayon