Zambo stakeholders ask NEA to postpone electric co-op assembly

ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews/18 June) —  A group representing various sectors is asking the National Electrification Administration (NEA) to postpone the holding of the Zamboanga City Electric Cooperative (Zamcelco) general assembly scheduled for Sunday, June 19, following the removal from office of the Zamcelco general manager and eight of 10 members of the cooperative’s board of directors.

Mayor Celso Lobregat convened an emergency meeting of the stakeholders Wednesday night, a day after receiving a copy of the NEA’s decision dismissing the Zamcelco general manager and eight directors.

Lobregat called on NEA to hold an election for the replacement of  the dismissed Zamcelco officials.
He said with the NEA ruling, the office of the board of directors of Zamcelco has no quorum and ceases to function since only one member, Efren Perez, remains, while two newly-elected members–Elbert Atilano and Agustin Graciano–have yet to formally assume their post.

The group also asked NEA to immediately conduct an election for the post vacated by Zamcelco’s first district director, Leandro Macatangay, who passed away on April 10, or one month prior to the promulgation of the decision on NEA-administrative case no. 02-12-10.

The NEA decision on the administrative case against the Zamcelco management and board of directors stemmed from Lobregat’s request in July last year for NEA to conduct a fair, accurate and comprehensive audit of the operations of Zamcelco in the light of alleged controversies afflicting the cooperative.

In handing down its decision, NEA assigned its designated Project Supervisor Jesus Castro to sit as acting general manager of Zamcelco. The meeting held at City Hall was attended by some 50 stakeholders including House Deputy Speaker for Mindanao Ma. Isabelle Climaco-Salazar, members of the Council committee on energy, and public utilities, other city officials,  Perez, Atilano and Graciano, NEA officials assigned to Zamcelco, representatives from the Multisectoral Group for Better Zamcelco (MGBZ), members of the academe and representatives from the business sector, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), urban poor, socio-civic and other non-government organizations and Zamboanga Archbishop Romulo Valles.

The group also recommended that if there is a need to appoint a temporary board to act on matters necessitating immediate Board action, “their appointment to the temporary board shall be in accordance with the guidelines on the conduct of Electric Cooperative District Elections, NEA memorandum 2005-12 and Zamcelco by-laws.”

The appointment shall not be more than 90 days and those appointed to the temporary board shall be prohibited from running for the same position in the immediately succeeding election, the group said.

Lobregat said copies of City Council resolution nos. 610 and 611 were also attached to the letter of the multi-stakeholders group sent to NEA Thursday.

City Council resolution No. 610 states that whoever sits in the Board of Zamcelco “must have the mandate of the member-consumers by way of calling simultaneous elections in the affected districts as early as possible so that they could act appropriately on matters that confront Zamcelco.”

City Council resolution No. 611 requests the Zamcelco acting general manager through the mayor “to postpone the holding of the general assembly slated on June 19, 2011, until a quorum of the Board is constituted.”

Both resolutions were approved during the session on June 15.

The June 19 Zamcelco general assembly is provided for in the cooperative’s by-laws and had been set prior to the release of the NEA decision. (MindaNews)