BAGUIO CITY–The Benguet Electric Cooperative (Beneco) has set a massive information campaign on the decision of its members to register with the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) and, as such, insulate it from the threat of privatization.
Beneco’s member-consumers in Baguio and Benguet earlier passed resolutions for its conversion into a true cooperative to prevent it from being taken over by profit-oriented firms.
Steered by its general manager, Gerardo Verzosa, the Beneco has grown into one of the most viable power distribution firms in the country.
Verzosa said the decision to convert into a real cooperative was also prompted by pronouncements on the abolition of the National Electrification Administration (NEA) which has supervision over the country’s electric cooperatives and the need to recognize consumers as true owners of the same.
The conversion will legitimize its being labeled as a “cooperative” by then President Marcos who privatized the country’s telephone systems and made its water systems as government corporations.
An electric cooperative official explained that Marcos’ move was to enhance energization in the country and allow the “cooperatives” to use their resources towards providing electricity in all households.
Under Verzosa’s leadership, Beneco grew into one of the country’s top electric cooperatives despite its difficulty of energizing a mountainous terrain where houses are often not clustered, unlike those in the lowlands.
Having grown into one of the most viable coops in the country, Beneco faces the threat of being bought by private companies, prompting its members to convert and register with the CDA.
As prepared by lawyer Delmar Carino, Beneco’s information manager, the information campaign will begin this December in Kabayan, Benguet and will also focus on its decision to build mini-hydros.
To run until next year, the information campaign will also target the mayor’s leagues of Baguio and Benguet, sanggunians and barangays of the cooperative’s franchise area, – Ramon Dacawi