Bacolod: CENECO JVA Yes votes reach critical mass, Sept. 2 and 3 polls cancelled


Bacolod City – The Board of Directors of the Central Negros Electric Cooperative (CENECO), pursuant to the authorization of the National Electrification Administration, has cancelled the scheduled Sept. 2 and 3 plebiscites on the proposed Joint Venture Agreement between the electric cooperative and the Negros Electric Power Corp. (NEPC), after achieving the majority of “Yes” votes needed, yesterday disclosed its acting general manager, Atty. Arnel Lapore.

In a press briefing, Lapore reported that Yes garnered 98,591 votes, which represents 55.31 percent of the total number of 178,236 eligible voters of CENECO member consumers, while the No votes numbered 6,899.

Therefore, the threshold of 50 percent plus one was already “achieved,” he stressed.

During its board meeting recently, Lapore said CENECO president Jojit Yap certified the 98,591 Yes votes, which are be transmitted to the NEA for its information and appropriate action.

It only needs the concurrence of NEA, the CENECO acting general manager added.

NEA administrator Antonio Mariano Almeda, in his issued memorandum dated August 30, backed the CENECO’s rationale, stressing that “It would be unnecessary to continue with the Sept. 2, 3 voting dates, since the threshold number of affirmative votes has been achieved.”

To continue with the Sept. 2 and 3 voting dates would only result in unnecessary costs and burden to CENECO, as well as interfering with the resumption of public school classes on Aug. 29, and the scheduled local elections, Almeda said.

Anticipating post proclamation protests, Lapore said any aggrieved parties may avail of such remedies before any forum.

Once concurred by NEA, he said the process will be forwarded to Congress for an application of a 25-year franchise, where approval is up to the House of Representatives and Senate.

As he was campaigning for JVA approval, Abang Lingkod Rep. Stephen Joseph Paduano earlier disclosed that he is willing to sponsor the application of NEPC franchise at the Lower House.

In the meantime, Lapore disclosed that it will be business as usual for CENECO, where he said they will focus on reducing the system loss.

While the process is being undertaken, he added that there is a provision in the JVA for the parties to embark into some programs that would address some important and immediate needs of CENECO.

Asked on the overwhelming Yes votes for the proposed JVA, Lapore said “this is an overwhelming endorsement of JVA from member consumers,” as they expect it would bring a better CENECO for everyone.

Hopefully, Congress will grant the franchise, and eventually give the JVA a chance, he also said.

Lapore said he will also push for the retention of 70 percent of its total employees, stressing also that he and board made a commitment to augment what is provided in the Collective Bargaining Agreement, regarding the separation pay of those, who may not be rehired. (Gilbert Bayoran via The Visayan Daily Star (TVDS), photo courtesy of TVDS)


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