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NEA approved salary increases – Ceneco GM

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• CHRYSEE G. SAMILLANO

The recent implementation of salary increases for supervisors and confidential employees of Central Negros Electric Cooperative (Ceneco), was approved by the National Electrification Administration (NEA), Arnel Lapore, acting Ceneco general manager, said yesterday.

Lapore, a former president of the Board of Ceneco, said the cooperative only implemented the order of NEA involving the salary increases of supervisors and confidential employees of the power utility firm. The increase was divided into three tranches, and what was implemented recently was already the third tranche.

All these adjustments were based on NEA’s salary standardization law which is being applied to all electric cooperatives, he said.

Lapore said the salary increases, which averages between P4,000 to P5,000 per employee, was approved by the Ceneco Board on October 2022.  It was only on January 22 when NEA issued an order to implement the salary increases after the third tranche was approved.

Earlier, Power Watch Negros, a consumer rights advocates group, expressed its strong disapproval to the recent implementation salary increases they deemed excessive, that will benefit about 80 supervisors and confidential employees of Ceneco.

Power Watch secretary general Wennie Sancho said the “big time” salary increases was done surreptitiously at a time when Ceneco is suffering from financial hemorrhage due to its huge financial indebtedness to banks and power suppliers.

Sancho said the salary increases is an abuse of management prerogative in as much as Ceneco supervisors are already receiving salaries of about P50,000 per month on the average, plus fat bonuses, allowances and other forms of emoluments.

While the Ceneco consumers are reeling from the high cost of electricity, the supervisors and confidential employees are enjoying their exceptional salary increases in confusing abundance, he said.

Those who were responsible for this irresponsible decision violated the austerity measures imposed by the NEA National Electrification Administration (NEA) to an electric cooperative, he also said.

Sancho said this scheme is an added form of injustice to the consumers who are being made to pay for the power supply that they did not use due to incompetent contracting and lopsided power supply agreement. This is also a form of discrimination to the rank and file Ceneco employees whose Collective Bargaining Agreement package was appealed by the management with the Secretary of Labor.

Meanwhile, Lapore said the Ceneco Union of Rational Employees (CURE) had sought for the approval of a 5 percent across-the-board increase of salaries of all employees regardless of their salary rate during the Annual General Membership Assembly (AGMA).

However, this was not granted due to technical and legal issues involving its approval at the AGMA. So, CURE filed a case before the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), which eventually issued a writ of execution and garnished about P30 million funds of Ceneco that was used to pay the salary differential of Ceneco employees, he said.

Therefore, it is not true that CURE was left out. They did not accept the salary scale offered by Ceneco because they believed that a 5 percent across-the-board increase would be more favorable to them, Lapore added.*

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